Soft Wild

The other day on my hike I started taking pictures of wildflowers. Most of them had tiny blooms. I love how beauty can range from miniscule to cosmic. 

But I really started thinking about the word “wild”. Wild and wildlife conjure images of tigers, hyenas, coyotes and bears. Roaming, hungry, savage and untamed.  

Wildflowers? They don’t reflect any of those adjectives. This side of the wild is delicate, beautiful, intricate and small. 

Yet they are wild. They grow in meadows and along woodland paths.  Yet they also grow on highway verges, rocky cliffsides, even cracks in the sidewalk. 

The soft side of wild is defined by beauty, peace and persistence. The same strength and resilience that an animal needs to survive in the wild is represented by these fragile, lovely flowers.  

Nature’s POWer

The emphasis on “POW” in the title is a bit of a joke, but also reveals what I want to say about Nature’s profound strength.

This picture shows that so effectively. Yes, this sprout did not shoot up with a comic book “POW!!!” Instead, what is revealed is the slow, implacable ability for this single green plant to break through a layer of asphalt. What a profound example of how persistently following the path of growth makes a being nearly irresistible.

Thoreau and the Taoists both talk about this strength. Thoreau wanted “to travel the only path I can, and that on which no power can resist me.” Asphalt is poured so its elements melt together and harden. They should stop a mere plant from sprouting. But that plant is doing what it must, what Nature demands of it, and no mere human concoction is going to stop its growth.

Today I am going to think with my sprout mind, and I am going to find the barriers that are stopping my growth. Then I’m going to find the natural path to overcome them.

We follow nature

Last weekend we got about 4 inches of rain overnight. When I went on a hike, and saw what’s in this video, I thought “Funny how the water followed the path.”

Who follows who?

My mind immediately alerted me to a potential fallacy. A “which came first” idea presented itself. Isn’t it more likely that water made this path? Rain overflow creates little streams, especially in the spring. Some are freshets, have a relatively deep bed, and can run for months if its a wet season. Not great for a path.

But a lot of time there are washes for when a big storm overflows the system of ponds and streams and rivulets, and more water runs off. As water always does, it tends to gather and find a way to flow down. I’m thinking these are the path makers: yes they get wet, but only briefly, and dry fairly quickly, which means we can walk on them most of the time.

Humans are smart, and you can also say we’re either thrifty or a bit lazy. It is far easier to follow a path given to us by nature than to have to hack a new path through its bushes, trees and tangles.

So my new thought is: “Look how we follow that path of water.”

Beauty of death and decay

Yesterday, I wrote about how a carpet of yellow pine needles helped me understand the idea of the individual within a greater unity.  

I kept wanting to write about the decay aspect of the pine needles. After all, they are coating the ground because they have fallen. Though they were once growing, attached to twig branch and bole, now they lay where they fell. 

I didn’t write about it because it led me to a different concept. We all are familiar with the circle of life, and we know that death and decay are part of it. But I like examples, they make me think of the deeper parts of a general idea. 

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The peak of family and friendship

For this weeks #SundayStills photo challenge, the prompt is #peek-a-boo. It does give the option to use peak, so I went with this picture of our niece and her fiancé at the peak of a local hill. Also, this is a peek into the life of my wife and I, as we develop a growing friendship with this wonderful couple. We’re looking forward to another visit this weekend.

This challenge lasts all week. If you want to join, check it out here.