a blue flower

"Anemones" by Eilif Peterssen
“Anemones” by Eilif Peterssen

I held a blue flower in my hand, probably a wild aster, wondering what its name was, and then thought that human names for natural things are superfluous. Nature herself does not name them. The important thing is to know this flower, look at its color until the blueness becomes as real as a keynote of music.
~ Sally Carrighar
(Home to the Wilderness)

14 thoughts on “a blue flower”

  1. Miss Sally seems to have had the correct idea. It is not about what a thing is called it is about the calling a item, a plant, a tree, a poem, a painting, a person causes us to experience when in its presence.

    Beautiful! Thank you B.

    I am Love, Jeff

    1. You’re welcome, too, Jeff! I love words so much I need to recall Sally Carrighar’s reminder sometimes. 🙂 As you expressed so well, to be immersed in nature requires no words, just our presence.

  2. Hi Barbara, Visiting from Kathy and want to tell you that I like the painting and the quote. I generally call yellow wildflowers DYF’s – there are just to many to learn them all!

    1. Hi Barb, it’s nice to have a visit from you! There are too many flowers to find names for – same thing with stars! Sometimes we just have to take a deep breath and enjoy the nameless wonder of it all. I took a peek at your blog and love the blue background and your lovely pictures…

  3. I have often noticed that when I named a flower or plant…I suddenly lost interest in it. To behold the beauty of flower and simply breathe in its essence and magnificence, that is something different which thrills the heart.

    1. I agree with you, Kathy. It’s kind of funny, my parents and sister were/are nature lovers but they’re more inclined to experience nature from a scientific point of view, naming and identifying everything, which I found boring as a child. Like you, I think, nature inspires me and fills my heart with wonder. (But it’s handy having my sister around when I want to identify things in my photos!) 🙂

  4. Hi Barbara. The images and quotes you post are always so thought-provoking and deep. I love visiting here. This particular quote reminds me of a native Canadian who befriended me when I lived in Port Hardy, Vancouver Island, many years ago. The old man was a cousin to Chief Dan George. I remember him as kind, sweet, and generous with his time. He gave me his ‘business card’ which was a small salmon that he’d carved from alderwood; it fit nicely into any sized pocket or between thumb and fingers, and felt good to rub on it. Sadly, I lost his little carving, but I never lost the experience of his kindness or wisdom. I kept asking him questions, what is this, or what is that, and he told me these were things only I could learn by being with them. He said I had to earn the knowledge by wanting it. I didn’t understand – all I wanted to know was their name and whether I could eat them or use them for medicine, and he wouldn’t tell me the answers. I was young and in a rush.

    Now the tempo of my energy has slowed with increasing age, and I finally understand that the old man did answer my questions. The things in life that I truly wanted to know came to my knowledge only after I spent time being with them. This is true with objects, subjects, plants, animals, people, actions and ideas. Beholding, breathing and appreciating the beauty of a flower is what our senses were made for. If all we do is name, we know only the outer image.

    The anemones above are nothing when mentioned by name, but study their tributary rivers of leaves which stretch and wave gently in slight breezes. Feel the purple and magenta petals – stroke softly against the cheek and watch how sunlight on their epidermal skin turns each cell into glittering life. Crush them and see how fragile they are and how purple turns to black.

    Children know instinctively to do this – natural scientists that they are. To children, everything is an experiment, and all things are gazed upon with curiosity and readiness to engage.

    I love the painting of the girl child playing with the crab.

    1. It’s so nice to have you back here! 🙂 I’ve been thinking about what you wrote about your kind and wise mentor, for a couple of days now, while also immersing myself in a comprehensive biography of Emily Dickinson, and I keep putting it down and thinking. She loved to collect, preserve and identify flowers for her “Herbarium,” her primary occupation before she started writing poetry in earnest. My mother was an avid birdwatcher who also kept a little book of each new kind of bird she saw, where and when she saw it.

      Your words struck me: “If all we do is name, we know only the outer image.” As you point out, we do that with people, too. She’s a writer, he’s a coach, she’s a foreigner… Names tell us so little and can only take us so far!

      The curious little girl playing with the crab is getting to know a lot about the crab and its personality! I like the way my mourning doves look at me when I’m gardening as if they’re trying to understand what I’m doing, too…

      It’s strange how children like to explore and then often lose that urge when they become adults. Fortunately later in life that curiosity often returns.

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