Sunday, November 11, 2012

What Does Nature Provide?

What does nature provide? People have looked at this question from every angle I think. I decided to go through my flickr site and pick out three recent pictures of plants and sort of brainstorm about what I saw. I would love to hear how you interpret these pictures with the perspective of the question of this post...

The first picture I chose is this Ansonia plant growing in my front garden. It's a wonderful perennial that has strange blue flowers every June. Now in the fall it looks a little wild and floppy, but it's one of my favorite plants in the garden. If I were to choose one word about what this plant offers, it's vibrancy. The incredible way Ansonia catches the light inspires me to think about how sunlight works its way through the garden at different times of year and at different moments of the day. I was so lucky to plant Ansonia right here because it has thrived and continues to provide us with year-round enjoyment. Not bad for a little thing I bought a few years ago at our local half-price-last-days-of-fall garden center sale. 

The next picture I chose was taken a couple of weeks ago right after Hurricane Sandy. I had just come out of my sculpture class at the MFA and suddenly beheld the wonderful oaks that line the sidewalk at the Fenway entrance.

More than anything these terrific oaks gave me a feeling of being sheltered. A sense of presence with something bigger than me, something with its own distinct form, outside of and perhaps more important than my own, provided me with a sort of transcendent understanding of how nature defines our world. 

What you don't see in this picture is that the oaks had shed huge amounts of biomass onto the lawns and sidewalks by the MFA. The steady winds of Sandy didn't do any real harm, just deposited about a foot of detached tree leaves, twigs, and acorns onto the ground. The stately manner and seemingly calm demeanor of these trees belies the fact that they had been well shorn the night before. 

My final picture is another look at trees, this time at night. This is a luminous ash tree right in my neighborhood, a shot I caught on a mild evening during a rare after-dark walk.

The tree in this picture provides something from both the pictures before. The luminous play of light on leaves as well as the sheltering presence. Somehow this shot also reminded me that nature provides us with a home.

The smiling branches, the sheltering leaves, the life that's found in a busy neighborhood. All of these are amazing contributions that plants bring to our life. Maybe in future posts I'll explore the question of what nature provides in greater detail. I'd love to hear your responses to the question.

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