words by Kit
Some plants play a visual trick on us, with flower heads that seem to be floating in air. Iris is one example, where the long thin stems from a distance are not visible. Or Dandelion seed head. A lovely conceit, and a moment of thrill to see something floating, that doesn’t match the laws of physics, at first sight.
And then we look for the stems, and the world is in order. But we give the stems little thought, and little credit for the amazing work that they do: holding up the flower-head, lifting (or is it being pushed) toward the sun, carrying water and nutrients from the roots below, up into the developing bud, its flower and the subsequent seeds. It strikes me as unfair that they get little credit for doing so much work; they don’t put on a show, so we overlook them.
A nice metaphor for reflecting on other aspects of life – groups we belong to for example. Or family. Who is the showy presence in the world, receiving recognition; who the stalwart stem quietly working away, connecting the base with the wider world? Who the root system? I can see the characters in my family falling into these categories. And my own environmental group.
But also interesting, within myself, these various aspects of being are all present, in different amounts; and brought out in a range of circumstances. How to bring forward the showy aspect (flower) where I actually feel shy; or how do I honour the quiet hard worker (stem) in the face of receiving unwelcome or undeserved praise. I’ll be trying out this exercise in other areas of life too – noticing the outer and the inner applications of the image of a plant, and being sure to not elevate one function above another. The whole thing would not have its strength and elegance if we did that.