I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief - Gerry Spence
Autumn is like an old book:
Marred spines turn mean yellow,
staples rust red-orange.
Every stained page is stressed
by a splat of color. Rough-red,
like an old tavern,
we become hungry birds
and prepare for fall.
Shape and shadow are candied citron
as lanterns turn bitter yellow. Autumn
is a red fox, a goblet filled with dark wine,
a hot chilli pepper with smoky eyes.
Pressed leaves take in the colors
of seafood paella and saffron; these leaves
are like death, climaxing with a smile.
Autumn: Her dress is a net of mussels;
dark shelled, it covers up
summer’s weatherbeaten body.
So pull out your boots
and stand on an aged, wood floor
like an evergreen.
Mary Hamrick : "Autumn"
"Fold your arms round me close and strain me so that our hearts may break and our souls go free at last. Take me to that happy place of which you told me long ago. The fields whence none return, but where great singers sing their song forever."
Joseph Bedier, The Romance of Tristan and Iseult
One of the ancient remedies for treatment of respiratory disorders disguised as a little sun. The bright yellow flowers of coltsfoot appear early spring literally out of nowhere, especially if that nowhere looks like damp roadsides, ditches, forgotten construction sites and other disturbed places. To colonise such locations it requires a lot determination and wit. Coughwort (another common name of the plant) possess both of them as it spreads by underground rhizomes and seeds. The clever side of the expansion lies in the fact that its flowers appear first and when they fade away the leaves emerge. Hardly anyone sees the connection between the two stages. Seeing the healthy leaves we are looking forward to flowers, which... never happens. Slightly disappointed we leave them alone and forget, the outcome Tussilago is really very happy about.
"Once upon a time the Virgin was slowly waking to Jerusalem carrying her little baby in her arms. She wanted to present her beloved son to the Temple. The weather was hot and she knew that soon she would have to feed the infant. She sat quietly in a nearby garden and begun to nurse the baby when suddenly... she had a horrible vision which made her weep without consolation. She saw the future fate of her son and started trembling with horror. As she shook, the mouth of the baby pulled loose from her teat and several milk drops fell onto the leaves of a plant growing next to her feet. At the same time her tears dropped on the little buds changing them pink red, the colour of her weeping eyes. When the buds opened into flowers, they were as blue as Mary's veil." That was the way how Jerusalem cowslip or Mary's milk drops, or Adam and Eve, or soldiers and sailors, or spotted dog, or lungwort, or Pulmonaria officinalis appeared in the world.
A yellow flower
(Light and spirit)
Sings by itself
A golden spirit
(Light and emptiness)
Sings without a word
Let no one touch this gentle sun
In whose dark eye
Someone is awake.
(No light, no gold, no name, no colour
And no thought:
O, wide awake!)
A golden heaven
Sings by itself
A song for nobody.
I am positive that even the silky touch of a trap does not make the experience of being trapped enjoyable. Every garden is full of hardworking spiders building their silky webs non-stop. And they catch whatever can be caught crating new surprising dimensions in the architecture of a plant and garden as well. Wilted flowers or dry leaves caught in mid-air not to mention poor insects. Some spider webs show a striking resemblance to the wooly or hairy flower structures we can now observe while having a walk in the country side. The source of inspiration seems to be the same although the objectives are totally different. Among the pictures in the slideshow presenting spider webs are six illustrations of innocent plants. Try to find them while listening to one of the best - if not the best- Queen of the Night sung by Zdzisława Donat. The queen is trying to catch her own daughter in the trap of vicious feelings and her voice is pure silk!
Greek gods and demigods (meaning: half-gods) enjoyed a very busy social life but quite fruitful. Thetis, one of the beautiful and gregarious goddess after a meeting with Peleus (a purified multi-sinner) gave birth to a son whom she wanted to render immortal. Why not? It was not so complicated back in ancient Greece. Thetis immersed the boy in the river Styx holding him by his left or right (I am not sure which) heel. The name of the boy was Achilles, the famous, invulnerable hero of the Trojan war. However, his invulnerability was limited and depended on his heel, the one his mother held him by and which was not touched by the transforming waters. I still do not know why Thetis did not want to make her hand immortal by dipping it in the Styx along with the Achilles' heel? Had she had, Homer would not have written Iliad and we could not know the plant shown in the picture under its very original name: Achillea. The name which immortalised Achilles better than the Styx water did. Why give such a name to a wild plant? The answer is: healing (not heeling!) properties.
There are books where watercress is referred to as a... poisonous plant. Not a very encouraging recommendation for this exceptionally savoury herb. Watercress has been around humans for centuries despite that nasty label, though. And not in vain. As recent studies suggest, its fleshy leaves contain an abundance of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and some other stuff which is hoped to possess curative properties against lung cancer. This recommendation sounds far better than the first one and those who have tried watercress salad or soup could also say something about the taste. The tangy flavour has few matches neither does the rate the small seeds turn into full grown plants. If you have a damp spot in your garden and nothing wants to grow there, think about watercress. It will.
I was destined to be born gardener. In order to become a professional one I had to enjoy years of studying at various schools and universities... read more