I think maybe I'll dispense with the usual Independence Day post this morning. While I do enjoy fireworks, barbecues and the patriotic waving of our American flag, there will be plenty of time for that later this afternoon. Right now, I prefer to reflect on something sweet and simple.
Every July these little beauties start popping out all over the place, blooming prolifically beside spiky hot pink thistle flowers and elegant Queen Anne's Lace by the side of the road. I never have to go far to find them. Their bright blue colors wink cheerfully at me if I'm walking and blur into a multicolored watercolor painting with the wildflowers who keep their company if I'm driving on by. I have found them alongside our busiest highways, and I've found them nestled quietly amid the wild grasses up at the lake. I stopped yesterday to pick a stem... loathe to do it, as experience has taught me that the clock starts ticking the minute I make that choice. It will not last the hour.. so time is of the essence. More will grow in its place, but it seems somehow sad, that plucking it from its home shortens its lifespan so dramatically. Still, I do not relish getting run over by a car on the highway, so in the battle between head and heart, the head wins this time.
I photograph them carefully from several angles, because for me... a flower image is only worth sharing if you can somehow capture a bit of its soul. I was thinking as I spent time with this one yesterday, that she had a lot to say. From one angle she looked as if she was dancing. From another, weeping. I found her reaching skyward, as though being drenched in the sun drew from her mouth, the loveliest song... and bringing her inside, somehow froze that moment forever. Through it all, she maintained her softness... right until the very end, when she closed up each petal and bid me goodbye.
Hans Christian Andersen said, "Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower." On this Independence Day, I am so thankful to be basking in all three.