Posts Tagged ‘wildflower’


There is a long ridgeline
below the towering spire
of Lizard Head summit
where the alpine clover
grow in vast pink mounds
and their sweet scent
suffuses the high, thin air
with a perfume so strong
not even today’s wind
could blow it away.
For long moments we were held
by the fragrance
the way insects
are preserved in amber—
it stilled us completely.
We belonged to the beauty.
With deep, intentional breaths
we pulled the floral sweetness
into our beings
until everything was clover,
clover, clover.

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They’re small, the flowers
of mountain mahogany—
little white and red trumpets
with barely a scent, but
today, on a trail lined
with millions of tiny blossoms,
the air was hung with sweet perfume
and I breathed deeper,
as if with each pull
I could bring beauty into my lungs.
When I lose faith
that my smallest actions
make a difference,
let me remember myself as one of millions,
remember the wonder of walking today
through the bushes in bloom.
Hours later the scent is long gone,
but I can’t unknow
how sweet it is.

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Love Lessons

There were thousands of wild iris
in the wide, damp meadow.
Forty years later I remember it, still,
the pale purple petals fluttering
in the morning breeze.
The spring air was cold;
my feet squished in the mud,
and I picked armfuls of iris,
each bloom the loveliest.
I picked and picked
as if dozens of iris could convey
how extravagantly I loved a boy.
Loved him beyond measure.
Loved him meadowfuls.
Whole mountainfuls.
It’s so human to long to express
the inexpressible.
Forty years later, I remember
the immensity of that love—
how it changed me, made space in me
for who I am today.
Love is, perhaps, rhizomic,
like iris, spreading where no one can see.
If you could look inside me now,
you’d find fields of iris, infinite acres.
I still long to pick dozens for my loves,
even hundreds, though now I also trust
how sometimes a single stem
says everything.

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It prefers barren soil.
It prefers land that is dry.
It prefers to grow
without protection of trees.
The larkspur doesn’t want to compete.
It simply grows where others don’t grow,
brings beauty to the lonely ground.
It grows tall—tall enough
that the weight of its petals
might bend the stem,
might force a fall.
It says to me as I walk by,
there are many ways
to serve the world,
bringing beauty is one.

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for Andrea Bird

A person, once a stranger,
can slip into your life,
unplanned, of course,
as if brought by the wind
in much the same way
a seed of spotted saxifrage
can slip by happenstance
into a crack in a rock
then root and grow.
Eventually, the saxifrage
will split the rock open.
By then, it will be full,
its flowers prolific
and beautiful.
If you are lucky,
this once stranger
will do in time
the same to you—
will be alive in you,
crack you open
with their beauty,
make you grateful
to be so broken.

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Whatever it is inside the larkspur

that says grow, grow, grow,

I want to know it, too. Want

to obey the voice that urges me on,

even in frost, even in rain.

I want to rise out of my own dried debris,

want to know how it is to die and return,

new and yet somehow the same.

And what is it that fuels the drive?

I want to know that— the divine

encouragement that knows

when to wait, when to push,

when to wilt, when to flourish,

when to swell into oh! bright bloom.

I want to know myself as wick,

to be lit, to be the fire itself.

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It’s not that the queen’s crown changed anything,

not really. All it was doing was growing there

in the field beside the spruce.

But there it was, succulent and pink.

And there I was, not even knowing

how desperately I wanted to find

something beautiful, until I stumbled

on the flower, hiding as it was in the tall, tall grass.

And though it changed nothing,

it changed everything, the day

suddenly marked by treasure,

by luck. There are, surely, thousands

of chances each day for such astonishment,

thousands of openings

I never see, thousands of opportunities

to say, “This, this is why I am here.”

Crazy that finding a flower in the tall, tall grass

could obscure a whole world of troubles.

At least for a moment.

I will tell you where to find it,

though it wouldn’t be the same

if you were looking for it.

No, better to walk wherever it is

you are walking, better to stumble

as often as you can.

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I don’t know the name of the flower
about to bloom beside the trail,
but it has the leaves of a lily
and a single bud that hangs heavy
off a long bent stem.

Just as I don’t know the name
for the feeling I have when
I want you to act a certain way
and I have not yet realized
that my wanting is the problem.

Neither of these things matter—
the names, I mean. We like to think
that by naming a thing we know it.
But I have stopped believing that.
Whatever we can name, we start to overlook.

The heliotrope, for instance.
I greet it as we walk by, but I do not
stop to investigate its tiny white flowers,
nor do I rub its leaves between my fingers
to better understand their shape.

Imagine I did not know your name.
So every time we met I would
gather everything I could about you—
the scent of you, the shape of your hands,
the weather of your moods.

And imagine I forgot me, too,
and in discovering you, I’d see
myself anew. And I would be unfamiliar
with words such as happiness or forgiveness
or wound or wife.

Ah, to meet each other like that, the way we meet
this strange flower. More inquisitive than convinced.
More curious, less sure. Less like gods,
omniscient, commanding, more as if we are the ones
with so much opening left to do.

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