Wild Chickweed and Violets
I’ve always loved flowers. Always. Earlier this summer I was reminded of some of my first childhood memories of flowers. As a very young child I soon learned as my father’s shadow, what flowers were in season. We would go to the poplar forest as the leaves were just emerging from winter rest, the sun having warmed last autumn’s carpet, coaxing hepaticas to speckle the brown and gray with white, blue and mauve. Usually that was consistently around Mother’s Day so we would return, fists full of tiny flowers, stems barely crossing the width of a palm. Mom would find a shot glass to hold the crushed bouquets. We never picked enough to fill it, our efforts always seemed so diminished by the empty spaces. I learned early that for flowers were best displayed and stayed fresh longer the longer the stems were.
The next offering of spring would be the marsh marigolds, then violets blue and white, followed by lilacs, buttercups, bluebells, wild anemone, something Dad labeled Kentucky Bluegrass, red clover, brown eyed susans, asters and goldenrods. A bouquet would be barely wilted and I would be bringing Mom another from the fields and the woods. Before I was taught to know better, I would bring bunches of daisies. Dad held them in low regard because they were a weed, spoiling the hay harvest. Plus they stunk, and brought tiny crawly bugs with them into the house that fell and littered any surface the vase holding those sunny faces set off with pure white petals sat on. He loves me, he loves me not. I spent hours trying to teach myself the art of daisy chains and consistently unsatisfying attempts at flower crowns to set on my white blond head.
Dad would take us to the spruce forests to search for Calypso Ladyslippers and the blueberry hills for Pink Moccasins and Indian Pipe. There were excursions into the bog to seek out swamp laurel and pitcher plants. We observed trout lilies, mayflowers, and never picked wood lilies, or irises. Dad recalls seeing trilliums blooming just over the crest of the hill, on the east side of the field where we entered the bush to look for hepaticas weeks earlier, but I never saw any on our place. I enjoyed watching the bees visit the blueberry and raspberry and strawberry and chokecherry blossoms, leaving them alone in anticipation of sweet fruit and berries. We would beg Dad to guide the boat into the lily pads to collect brilliant white water lilies and spatterdock.
I was intoxicated by the scents of twin lilies and lilacs and goldenrods. I’d search out Canada Thistle and whittle it down with my pocket knife because I had heard once that if you were ever lost in the woods you could survive on its pithy stems.
Flowers are perfect.
Luke 12:27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.