Ode to the Life Saving Lily
So, when was the last time you opened your fridge or your cupboards and said, "Oh, there's nothing to eat. " I know I do it...way more often than I should.
Did you know that the pioneers would have starved without the root of this precious little beauty of the desert? It took a lot of work to dig enough of the root/bulb to feed a family, but it could be done. The Native Americans who lived around the Salt Lake Valley took compassion on these sweet pioneers and showed them how to eat them to survive.
Here are the different ways they would prepare these radishy-turnuplike manna:
- ground into flour and mixed with what corn meal or wheat flour they might have had
- boiled (though had the consistency of wall paper paste when cooled)
- dried and stored in the cellar for later use
By the time the pioneers got to the valley, they had been without flour and sugar for months. They had been encouraged to take an 18 month's supply of food with them. They were only able to bring with them what they had or could afford to purchase. When they arrived, many had no food at all; however, Heavenly Father had already set in motion a long time before, His plan to save them.
The first winter was the hardest, they ate crows, rabbits and wolves. After they were introduced to the sego lily, they were able to hold on. Over the next few years, they were able to plant and harvest corn, and wheat. The technology of the train (*woot* *woot*) was a huge blessing because they could bring more supplies quicker.
"For many people, the sego lily came to symbolize the qualities of the pioneers themselves. It could survive in poor soil with very little water and still produce a beautiful flower and a life-giving root. It was hardy and tough and grew with no care or attention. "
When we went to General Conference during Easter weekend, we visited many of the old buildings surrounding the temple. Sego lily is ALL over the place. It was even in the Conference Center elevator! On top of half of the Conference Center there are pine trees and mountain plants to symbolize the mountains. On the other half is planted desert plants, when they can they plant sego lily. It is not as abundantly found today as it was back then.
The Church News said this about the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple :
Throughout the temple on art-glass windows are represented the state flowers of the five states through which pioneers trekked — Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming and Utah. In the Celestial Room is the sego lily, designated as the state flower of Utah because its roots provided sustenance for the Pioneers during their first winter. It was as manna from heaven for them, Brother Holdman noted. Thus the presence of the flower in the celestial room represents the completion of their journey to the promised land and alludes to Revelation 2:7,17, "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God. . . . To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna."
What does this have to do with today? It is a reminder to us that when we step out into the dark and make a hard decision, knowing it is right, and living right - Heavenly Father will provide. It may not be gourmet. It may not be the easiest experience, but when we endure and follow whatever inspiration is given to us, He will bless us.
So, the next time I open my cupboard and find it is running a little scant... I will try harder to think of the significance of the sego lily.