Saturday, February 25, 2006

Queen of summer

I wrote a piece a couple of weeks ago about Queen Anne's lace. My favorite wildflower. In this picture I took at my husband's family's farm, where the flower is stretching west into the setting sun, you can see the gentle light reflecting off the flower and creating a soft glow that reminds me of a halo. What a majestic flower, named for a queen and so snowy white that a crown actually adorns its dome-shaped blossom. The queen of summer...

Most people consider it a weed. Are wildflowers weeds? If you mean that they grow without your permission, then of course--wild foliage, by nature, needs no human prompting to grace the landscape with its unkempt beauty. But if weeds are unsightly, nuisances, then what is weed-like about a peaceful flower, growing in its own habitat and disturbing no one except we humans in our symmety-seeking, manipulative landscaping states. Does Queen Anne's lace grow up at the margins of your yard? Is she out of control? No matter what you do, you cannot banish her. Because she was here long before you were. This mountain landscape is hers to abide in and to decorate and to own. And can't you see--her woody-stemmed, waist-high beauty far outsurpasses that of the weakling pansies that you grow in your straw-carpeted flower bed, easily crushed under the foot of a stray dog--unnaturally placed and trying to flourish in a balance of colors that is perfect in your constructing mind, though it is not what nature ever intended.

If you've ever seen a field of wildflowers, various sizes and colors and shapes all melding into one ever-flowing image, you have seen nature's perfection at work. Something about the completely unplanned mix, the clump of wild pansies here that slowly mixes and gives way to the clover, the milkweed clusters that shoot up between the Queen Anne's lace and accent her snowy whiteness with their burnt orange... No human mind could have constructed that asymmetrical perfection. Scarcely a human eye can spot its overwhelming attractiveness through the preliminary appearance of uncontrolled wildness, of random splashes of color on the blank canvas of the meadow that may first seem like a mess, but when you unleash your heart you see a masterpiece. Posted by Picasa

1 comment:

Right Hand Burning said...

I don't know about the predisposition to spirituality, either, as no one in my family is particularly spiritual; I guess maybe it is, if it exists, something passed down but not necessarily manifest in every generation. I certainly feel, though, that it wanted to be expressed in me so badly that one day it just simply exploded outwards much in the way of Psalm 116.
As for windstorms, I agree, why would we want to be terrified or stop them-- they are absolutely huge and amazing and wow, I don't even know what to say. As for wildflowers, I understand what you're saying about a hidden masterpiece. It sort of reminds me of impressionist art. If you stand too close to it, all you see is paint globbed on the canvas in random ways, and you say to yourself "that's just a bunch of paint" (in the case of wildflowers, 'that's just a bunch of weeds') but when you step back and see it/them as a whole you realize the absolute masterpiece that has been created. Nature and art are so similar! Sometimes I wonder, though, if there were to be a hierarchy between nature and art, which would win? Nature surely is the original and greatest creation, but does art get points for being another creation and a "improvement" (if it is so) upon nature? I know which one I should choose victor based on normal logic, but sometimes I wonder about art, and how it falls in nature and I guess the "chain of being"... Just a fun thing to think about.