What are plants doing? What are plants all about? They serve human beings by being decorative, but what is it from its own point of view? It's using up air; it's using up energy. It's really not doing anything except being ornamental. And yet here's this whole vegetable world, cactus plants, trees, roses, tulips, and edible vegetables, like cabbages, celery, lettuce - they're all doing this dance.
This is what history is: all those centuries of bodies, moving over these canals, twisting and blooming into life in these houses, these streets; all that flesh hungering, coming together, separating, continuing, accumulating, relinquishing, aging and breaking down. Bodies as tulips bent to the demands of light, colored into blossom, spent.
In your hands The dog, the donkey, surely they know They are alive. Who would argue otherwise? But now, after years of consideration, I am getting beyond that. What about the sunflowers? What about The tulips, and the pines? Listen, all you have to do is start and There'll be no stopping. What about mountains? What about water Slipping over rocks? And speaking of stones, what about The little ones you can Hold in your hands, their heartbeats So secret, so hidden it may take years Before, finally, you hear them?
History-note: Wednesday 23 July 2014. A national day of mourning in the majestic land of windmills, wooden shoes and tulips. Today the first 40 bodies came back to us from the holocaustic plane accident that caused 288 innocent victims; the nine guardians watched, eight of them sowed their respect in silence and one of them was howling like a hungry wolf to the East.
The idea of windmills conjures up pleasant images - of Holland and tulips, of rural America with windmill blades slowly turning, pumping water at the farm well ... But the windmills we are talking about today are not your grandmother's windmills. Each one is typically 100 yards tall, two stories taller than the Stature of Liberty, taller than a football field is long.
Why I Wake Early Hello, sun in my face. Hello, you who made the morning and spread it over the fields and into the faces of the tulips and the nodding morning glories, and into the windows of, even, the miserable and the crotchety - best preacher that ever was, dear star, that just happens to be where you are in the universe to keep us from ever-darkness, to ease us with warm touching, to hold us in the great hands of light - good morning, good morning, good morning. Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.
My heart is a garden tired with autumn, Heaped with bending asters and dahlias heavy and dark, In the hazy sunshine, the garden remembers April, The drench of rains and a snow-drop quick and clear as a spark; Daffodils blowing in the cold wind of morning, And golden tulips, goblets holding the rain - The garden will be hushed with snow, forgotten soon, forgotten - After the stillness, will spring come again?
Tulips come up in spring for no reason. Of course, you planted bulbs and now in April the earth warms up. But why? For no reason except gravity. Why gravity? For no reason. And why did you plant red tulip bulbs to begin with? For beauty, which is itself and has no reason. So the world is empty. Things rise and fall for no reason. And what a great opportunity that is! You can start writing again at any minute. Let go of all your failures and sit down and write something great. Or write something terrible and feel great about it.
Within my heart a garden grows, wild with violets and fragrant rose. Bright daffodils line the narrow path, my footsteps silent as I pass. Sweet tulips nod their heads in rest; I kneel in prayer to seek God's best. For round my garden a fence stands firm to guard my heart so I can learn who should enter, and who should wait on the other side of my locked gate. I clasp the key around my neck and wonder if the time is yet. If I unlocked the gate today, would you come in? Or run away?
Robin Jones Gunn
Within my heart a garden grows, wild with violets and fragrant rose. bright daffodils line the narrow path, my footsteps silent as i pass. sweet tulips nod their heads in rest; i kneel in prayer to seek gods best. for round my garden a fence stands firm to guard my heart so i can learn who should enter, and who should wait on the other side of my locked gate. i clasp the key around my neck and wonder if the time is yet. if i unlocked the gate today, would you come in? or run away?
Robin Jones Gunn
Those people who shoot endless time-lapse films of unfurling roses and tulips have the wrong idea. They should train their cameras instead on the melting of pack ice, the green filling of ponds, the tidal swings... They should film the glaciers of Greenland, some of which creak along at such a fast clip that even the dogs bark at them. They should film the invasion of the southernmost Canadian tundra by the northernmost spruce-fir forest, which is happening right now at the rate of a mile every 10 years. When the last ice sheet receded from the North American continent, the earth rebounded 10 feet. Wouldn't that have been a sight to see?
On the warm stone walls, climbing roses were just coming into bloom and great twisted branches of honeysuckle and clematis wrestled each other as they tumbled up and over the top of the wall. Against another wall were white apple blossoms on branches cut into sharp crucifixes and forced to lie flat against the stone. Below, the huge frilled lips of giant tulips in shades of white and cream nodded in their beds. They were almost finished now, spread open too far, splayed, exposing obscene black centers. I've never had my own garden but I suddenly recognized something in the tangle of this one that wasn't beauty. Passion, maybe. And something else. Rage.
An acre of poppies and a forest of spruce boggle no one's mind. Even ten square miles of wheat gladdens the hearts of most... No, in the plant world, and especially among the flowering plants, fecundity is not an assault on human values. Plants are not our competitors; they are our prey and our nesting materials. We are no more distressed at their proliferation than an owl is at a population explosion among field mice... but in the animal world things are different, and human feelings are different... Fecundity is anathema only in the animal. "Acres and acres of rats" has a suitably chilling ring to it that is decidedly lacking if I say, instead, "acres and acres of tulips".
The Gentle Gardener I'd like to leave but daffodils to mark my little way, To leave but tulips red and white behind me as I stray; I'd like to pass away from earth and feel I'd left behind But roses and forget-me-nots for all who come to find. I'd like to sow the barren spots with all the flowers of earth, To leave a path where those who come should find but gentle mirth; And when at last I'm called upon to join the heavenly throng I'd like to feel along my way I'd left no sign of wrong. And yet the cares are many and the hours of toil are few; There is not time enough on earth for all I'd like to do; But, having lived and having toiled, I'd like the world to find Some little touch of beauty that my soul had left behind.
Is it that by its indefiniteness it shadows forth the heartless voids and immensities of the universe, and thus stabs us from behind with the thought of annihilation, when beholding the white depths of the milky way? Or is it, that as in essence whiteness is not so much a color as the visible absence of color; and at the same time the concrete of all colors; is it for these reasons that there is such a dumb blankness, full of meaning, in a wide landscape of snows- a colorless, all-color of atheism from which we shrink? And when we consider that other theory of the natural philosophers, that all other earthly hues - every stately or lovely emblazoning - the sweet tinges of sunset skies and woods; yea, and the gilded velvets of butterflies, and the butterfly cheeks of young girls; all these are but subtile deceits, not actually inherent in substances, but only laid on from without; so that all deified Nature absolutely paints like the harlot, whose allurements cover nothing but the charnel-house within; and when we proceed further, and consider that the mystical cosmetic which produces every one of her hues, the great principle of light, for ever remains white or colorless in itself, and if operating without medium upon matter, would touch all objects, even tulips and roses, with its own blank tinge - pondering all this, the palsied universe lies before us a leper; and like wilful travellers in Lapland, who refuse to wear colored and coloring glasses upon their eyes, so the wretched infidel gazes himself blind at the monumental white shroud that wraps all the prospect around him. And of all these things the Albino whale was the symbol. Wonder ye then at the fiery hunt?