Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Garden Symposium

For nearly 3 days, Daffodil and Creeping Phlox have been deeply engaged in conversation. But this dialogue, I intuit, is not of the pedestrian, gossipy sort, but a philosophical engagement. Locked in each others' gaze, oblivious to the world around them: there seems to be an urgency to their conversation.

What does Creeping Phlox communicate, as she looks upward into the heavens? Her sporadic, fleeting appearance startles. Usually, she offers a dense carpet of ethereal lavender colored flowers. Her appearance in this instance might be interpreted as lending the conversation a gravitas it otherwise may lack. Does she ruminate on ephemeral existence—thus disclosing the very fate that awaits especially the early spring-blooming flower? Is their display equable with the bravery attributed to Achilles, who fought so valiantly to avenge the death of his beloved Patroclus? Or is she making a statement about beauty and love—a statement that seems all the more appropriate given Daffodil’s alias, Narcissus (which actually is but the Latin name for daffodils)?

Daffodil, at times performing the role of intent listener, at other times the pontificator, seems to weep on occasion. We wonder why. 

Daffodil's head droops, perhaps to honor Creeping Phlox's lamentations or philosophical homage to Eros. Perhaps Daffodil's head droops, demonstratively in shame for believing Love to be youth and beauty. Daffodil is the Agathon to Creeping Phlox's Socrates, who suggests that Agathon confuses the Love-object with Love itself.

Or is Daffodil actually Diotima, who proffers that Love is not a god (or goddess) but a mediating spirit, a spirit of the between, that serves as the self's vehicle into this world? 

Creeping Phlox may extend her view upward into Daffodil's corona, and upward into the heavens (in effect reflecting the color of the heavens), in appreciation of that view. Creeping Phlox is, after all, pregnant with buds. And Diotima reminds us that Love is chiefly expressed in reproduction, in the "leaving behind a new young one in place of the old." 

But this pregnancy and this reproduction need not be construed so literally, our Daffodilian Diotima reminds Creeping Phlox: "But they whose souls are far more pregnant than their bodies, conceive and produce that which is more suitable for the soul....[such as] wisdom and the rest of virtue."

I could have acted the part of Alcibiades, stumbling upon the interlocutors drunk and behaving in rather unbecoming fashion, but instead I opt to listen for a while, and then leave them to their dialogue, content that I have been enriched if only for a moment in time.   

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