The Price of Beauty

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Something has devoured my flowers.

I suspect it was the deer. A family of deer (buck, doe, and two fawns) have been coming to the parkish place behind my apartment for a couple of weeks. They are beautiful, and wild, and tame, and charming. They have no fear of humans, or their dogs, though if you approach they will grudgingly move on.

They come most often in the late afternoon, and I can see them as I sit writing. Sometimes I find them hiding from the sun under a large pine tree in the front, as I walk out to get the mail. The fawns are a few weeks old at most, and I can see their legs trembling still as they stand and munch the grass, or the leaves that have fallen during the frequent summer storms.

I had planted the flower seeds sometime in June, in the 10x4 patch of ground that serves for a garden in front of my porch. I don’t recall what kind of flowers they were. I had ordered a packet of seeds for flowers that would attract butterflies. They had grown to about 8 to 10 inches tall, the largest with broad oval-shaped leaves, handsome and not at all delicate. They had not flowered, so I don’t know what kind or color they would have been. And now I will never know. '

When I woke this morning and looked out, all of the leaves had been eaten, leaving bare slender stalks standing like small green telephone poles, or an invasion of tiny slender aliens. Perhaps they will grow leaves again. But I doubt it.

I was angry at first – these are the first of anything that I had planted myself (though honestly I did little more than disturb the ground and sprinkle). And water faithfully, as instructed. But now, I suppose I can’t blame the deer; they have offered fair trade, beauty for beauty.

Perhaps beauty is the price of beauty, always a trade, beauty like energy being never created nor destroyed. The law of conservation of beauty. Perhaps that applies to many areas of life, as well, all things in balance on the seesaw of eternity.

Perhaps. But until the deer start hovering delicately over my garden like butterlies, I will regret the loss of my flowers.

 

 

Photo by Kristina Paukshtite: https://www.pexels.com/photo/blue-white-and-red-poppy-flower-field-712876/

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The Butterfly and the Bee

As we all know, I have a low threshold of fascination. Today for example as I have been working on a book, I have also been keeping an eye on my petunias. I have never had petunias before, so perhaps that accounts for some of the fascination.  But really what garnered my attention for the last few hours is two visitors: a butterfly and an bee.

Initially actually I was watching a pail of water. It’s very hot today and I had set out what I hoped would be a makeshift birdbath. As I watched the pail, the water looked still and undisturbed. But the bright sun threw a reflection of the water onto the roof of my porch. In the reflection I could see the water moving, from the wind or maybe convection currents as the water heated in the brutal daylight. The reflection also showed the rippling waves as my gift evaporated. I felt like I  had my own little Plato’s cave, except the reflection was truer than the actual. Though I suspect that was true of Plato's as well. 

But then the butterfly appeared, a large one, likely a swallowtail  (my older brother would know), black wings with blue and gold spots. She (I think) kept flying around the weeds in my little garden. I have weeds in my garden, a lot of them this year. I leave them there because I don’t hurt anything if I don’t have to and they seem to feel the same. Anyway, the butterfly kept landing on one after another of the weeds, continually disappointed I assume, and completely ignorant of the cornucopia of petunias in the hanging basket not five feet overhead. Every once in a while she would float up and I would think—there, now she’s finally got it! But, so far at least, she has not made the leap. Perhaps it was an aesthetic choice and green is her preference. But the purple and pink treasure remained unclaimed. By the butterfly anyway.

The bee came later. A tiny one—though as scarce as bees have become around here I was glad to see any—found the petunias. But instead of gorging on the large full flowers, he instead insisted on trying to make his way into the nearly closed nearly dead blossoms, skipping entirely the glorious siblings. I watched him disappear into the narrow passage, and could see the from the turbulence outside the tunnel how difficult his passage was. I don’t if he made all the way it in, nor what he found when he got there. Maybe he just wanted a challenge. Or maybe the ripened juice is sweeter. Perhaps the bee knew his business better than I.

There are many morals that could be drawn here. But I will leave it to you, and the butterfly, and the bee. My wish is simply this: May you be  fascinated by flowers.

(Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay )

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Perennial Pleasures

 

 

 

When I go into the garden with a spade, and dig a bed, I feel such an exhilaration and health that I discover
that I have been defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands.

Ralph Waldo Emerson 

 

 

In summer, the song sings itself.

William Carlos Williams 

 

 I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days,
three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.

John Keats

 

 

Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade.

Rudyard Kipling

 

 

The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.

Abraham Lincoln

 

 


A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift;
above all it teaches entire trust.

Gertrude Jekyll



How fair is a garden amid the trials and passions of existence.

Benjamin Disraeli 



If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

Cicero 


 
Then followed that beautiful season... Summer....
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


 

 The garden is the poor man's apothecary.

German Proverb

 

 

 Who loves a garden still his Eden keeps;
Perennial pleasures plants, and wholesome harvest reaps.

A. Bronson Alcott

 

 

Green was the silence, wet was the light,
the month of June trembled like a butterfly.

Pablo Neruda

 

 

 

Garden as though you will live forever.

William Kent

 

 

 

 

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A Dialogue With Flowers

  

(Image: Parham Park Limited)

 

On Summer Sunday afternoons, this is where I'm most likely to be...

 

Flowers are happy things.

P G Wodehouse

 

 

 

He saw radiant joy in her face, he saw the flowers beat against her dress in blue waves.

 E M Forster

 

I am following Nature without being able to grasp her, I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.

 Claude Monet

 

I want it said of me by those who knew me best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.

 Abraham Lincoln

 

 The artist is the confidant of nature, flowers carry on dialogues with him through the graceful bending of their stems and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms. 

 Auguste Rodin

 

 

 

 

  Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.

 Oscar Wilde

 Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.

Theodore Roethke


Stretching his hand up to reach the stars, too often man forgets the flowers at his feet.

 Jeremy Bentham


Flowers are happy things.

P. G. Wodehouse

 

 

 

 A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in… What more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.

 Victor Hugo

 In a rich moonlit garden, flowers open beneath the eyes of entire nations terrified to acknowledge the simplicity of the beauty of peace.

 Aberjhani

  If your heart is a volcano, how shall you expect flowers to bloom?

 Kahlil Gibran

People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.

 Iris Murdoch

  

 

 'The lilies of the field' dressed finer than earthly princes, springing-up there in the humble furrow-field; a beautiful eye looking-out on you, from the great inner Sea of Beauty! 

 Thomas Carlyle

Bread feeds the body, indeed, but flowers feed also the soul.

 The Koran

 The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.

 Tennessee Williams

The earth laughs in flowers

 Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

Copyright

© Rosy Cole 2016, pilgrimrose.com 2016

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