I am perpetually amazed at those who cannot see. A walk which results in 'nothing' is beyond my comprehension. In our amazing world, where a square inch of ground teams with life, how can we NOT see? Why are we so blind?
Yet, for all my good intentions, sometimes I, too, find myself growing lax. I've walked this trail a million times. I've seen nine winters in this draw. Can it really show me a new face?
So I look! Dare I grow complacent in the face of such diverse beauty? Always, my search is rewarded. This winter, I have been captured by the winter garden - weeds some would call them, dead yet strikingly beautiful - at my feet. Out came the camera (another 'tool' to help me see). While I cannot identify many of these, I am convinced no dried flower arrangement ever carried more lovely detail! I hope you enjoy them, too.
Perhaps you recognize this one as that awful plant with the sticky little burrs. Have you ever looked at the detail?
How about a winter flower? This dried up remnant of a beloved summer wildflower retains much beauty in its dying moments!
Then there are my winter favorites. Winter daisies, I call them. So tiny. So delicate (that is the striking thing about all of these - they are all TINY). They were the first to call my attention to the glories, ignored and dying at my feet.
Or how about a minature Bonsai tree? Sage sunk low under snow's weight takes on a new image.
Many-fingered hands, reaching. Long, hairy fingernails. White cow parsnip blooms once grasped have fallen, but the fingers remain, delicate and childlike, waiting to be filled.
Minature purses filled with treasure unmatched by any king, these tiny seed buds (not as big as a pencil eraser) wait to spill upon the sun-warmed spring earth.
Barely topping their white shroud, these tiny red 'flowers' are all that remain of Sulpher Buckwheat blooming proudly a few weeks ago.
Dressed in lacy winter finery, standing stark and alone in a frigid landscape, or grouped together like aged gossips on winter holiday, these remnants of seasons past reflect a 'new' beauty not seen in their glory days.
Yet no garden is truly complete without the backdrop - those larger arrangements which give foundation to their smaller counterparts. The winter tree grows large from snowy fields. A closer look. A hobbit hole? Perhaps fantasy hides in this miniature world of winter beauty.
Certainly little imagination is needed to see hoary-haired gnome faces and lichen beards growing large on stony dwarves squatted low under alabaster capes!
Whether in minature or larger than life, whether dying fantasy or living real, winter gardens offer detail most overlook. Nine years is not too long. A million trips up the same path - it still offers more. IF we but see!
Lady of the Lake