Friday, September 14, 2012

"Stop! In the Name of Love"

like a thin anemone,
displays his silken leaf,
and in a morn decays.

"See! yon anemones their leaves unfold, 
with rubies flaming and with living gold."

--Sir William Jones (1746 - 1794)

If ever there was a story of a flower that exemplifies wabi-sabi, it is the anemone, a.k.a. wind-flower.

The Chinese attributed celestial significance to the anemone, associating it with passage into the afterlife and calling it the death flower.

Greco-Roman myth has it that the anemone was born out of sorrow.

Alas, the Paphian! fair Adonis slain! 
Tears plenteous as his blood she pours amain, but gentle flowers are born and bloom around 
from every drop that falls upon the ground: 
where streams his blood, there blushing springs the rose; 
and where a tear has dropped, 
a wind-flower blows.

Only the goddess Venus / Aphrodite could produce a flower so exquisite, so tender, so delicate, from a grief so consuming.

But focusing only on the funereal element seems to me one-sided.

Yes, tears were born out of grief.

Yet grief was born out of love.

And love compels us to do what we otherwise might not.

So, for instance, already running late for work the other day, I let Gramsci out into the garden only to discover the variegated magenta / pink anemone(which had been incorrectly tagged at the garden center as a double varietal, hence I do not know its name) was displaying a mass of flowers.

Upstairs I ran to grab the camera.

Paired with Toad Lily, another autumnal beauty, Anemone looks smashing.

Yesterday morning, I was compelled again to capture the pairing of the waning crescent moon with Jupiter, even though my unsophisticated camera would not provide for a quality photograph.

The remainder of the day I thought of the Supremes, forcing myself in the middle of lecture not to break out into song: "stop in the name of love!"

Cheating aside, how appropriate the lyrics, I mused. For those of us who love anemones, we mourn their ephemeral existence; a stiff wind and the petals fall.

Evening approaches, and the flowers are no more.

Nature's barometer, too, moisture in the air, signalling the presence of impending rain, cause the petals curl and the flower passes on. (European peasants mused that tired fairies take their evening slumber in the plush golden rods at the center of the flower, curling the leaves over them for protection.)

During these days of waning sunshine, we beseech our beloved anemone to stop--to stop in the name of our love and to stay awhile longer.

To commune with us.

To radiate.

To stave off impending cold.

 But in the end we cannot change fate.

And we realize: if we lose the moment, well...we've lost the moment.

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