Friday, September 21, 2012

A Greeting of Flowers

“...these delicate flowers evoke that youthful fascination with 
tiny things, and the broad spectacles it inspired...”

By Patrick J. Walsh

Flowers along the edge of the pond, orange and bright and fascinating, skitter in the plush breeze of the late afternoon. With their pear-shaped petals gathered tightly at the tips of green stems, they wave an elfin greeting, beckoning me backward in time.

Careful investigation reveals tiny spots of red on the little orange flowers, and the markings, along with the coloring and other characteristics, reveal the vibrant plants to be Jewelweed.

Precious Gem
Legend has it that Jewelweed came by its name as the result of its appearance under water, where a sort of optical illusion caused by the sudden displacement of air bubbles clinging to the surface of the flower causes the bright orange Jewelweed to appear silver, like a precious gem.

photo © Patrick J. Walsh
Careful investigation reveals the 
vibrant plants to be Jewelweed.

As I stand and watch the gently waving stalks, and kneel alongside the water’s edge to better appreciate the lovely green and gold in its delicate array around a large stone, I am content to follow the feeling the flowers inspire. For this moment, it is enough to know that they are wildflowers of brilliant orange and sprightly green, and that they grow regardless of the name and class and character we assign to them.

Resplendent in their youthful green and adolescent orange, the flowers along the edge of the pond wave their shy greeting as the sun moves imperceptibly across the soft blue sky.

Today this spray of flowers at the water’s edge recalls in me the countless easy hours when I played as a youth in some small patch of sand.

Summer Days
In those long days of summer, amid a bare spot of sand and its surrounding fringe of grass, I projected a lifetime’s worth of wide-eyed adventures on the imagined occupants of tiny replica automobiles.

On this warm afternoon, these delicate flowers evoke that youthful fascination with tiny things, and the broad spectacles it inspired in the imagination of a well-loved child.

And in me, today, the splashes of winsome green and glorious orange, moved to wave slightly on the light meandering breeze of the afternoon, recall again the fascinations of youth, and the possibilities of the larger world...

© Patrick J. Walsh

[Note: This is an excerpt from a longer essay, “Flowers at the Water’s Edge,” which is part of my “Walk in the Park” series.]

The Walk in the Park series:
• The Hawk

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