This journal started as a record of experiences observing the flora and fauna around our home in the Sierra Foothills of Northern California, more specifically, the so-called “Motherload” region (just a wee jaunt up the hills from the gold-discovery site in Coloma, which of course affords endlessly rich metaphors both mundane and lofty). It has morphed into more than that, but to me there is a fundamental principle, present at the beginning, which naturally enabled me to expand the topic of flowers and wildlife into more philosophical and creative realms. I might call that concept, “the Wisdom of Flowers,” which through contemplation one finds to be a microcosm of fundamental principles, such as were described by our ancient friend (so often mentioned in the pages of Flowerwatch Journal), Hercalitus.
Rather than go into a lengthy discourse here on this subject, I offer the following so as to hint at its essential qualities of flowers, perhaps like the way in which a tuning fork causes the strings of a well-tuned piano to resonate in sympathy. And each of us is equipped with all that’s required to hear sweet inner melodies of lovely truth—even as the flowers remind us so. Their forms, their colors, their fragrances, their ways, are principles like keys in the locks of higher understandings. Such is the true gift, the real gold, hidden in plain sight in the world.
Flowers along the path in guileless confidence
Gaze with open eyes into the wide clear dome of sky.
Their fragrances: hints and whisperings,
Precious insights to be recalled from beneath
The heavy sod of life’s heaping experiences,
From the time before time, the moment that’s even now.
In colors sharp and full of wonder
Quietly the flowers chant in wide fields
The indelible laws that steer the world.
I’ll also give some form to this idea by way of an alternative approach given by another navigator of the variegated waters of life’s innumerable mysteries, Lord Tennyson, in his “Flower in the Crannied Wall.”
Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
Little flower—but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is.
Tennyson composed the poem in 1863 by the wishing well at Waggoners Wells.
OLD “ABOUT” (by way of recalling the “beginnings”)
Flowers tell a story, the way music does. When you study them, observe their comings and goings, and see how you get in your yard or garden, or in the nearby woods, unexpected flowers seemingly coming down from heaven, and how butterflies and bees live in a world of flowers, you find yourself on an intoxicating journey. Every flower is a rich metaphor and a whole world unto itself.
This blog is a personal account of the flowers, plants and other natural wonders in and around our home in the Sierra Foothills, with similarly intentioned guest articles here and there from various places. I hope not only to talk about the flower itself, but what it means to people, especially mythologically, medicinally, and metaphorically. I’m not a botanist and these pages are not those of a scholar or expert. They represent a journal of my own discoveries and thoughts on the flowers and related life around our home.
I should say, that I consider every thought a flower, and every flower a thought. Sometimes, there are flowers that passeth all understanding, and they reside in a different place altogether.
Please enjoy and share with me your own observations and encounters with our Floral friends.
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