After we found this intimate image of blossoms by Maria Robledo, we came across this extraordinary passage from Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World. He describes what we are seeing when we look deep into the blossom of a flower. It has deepened our view mightily of even the most ordinary deli flower…

We did very well by the flower. There were, of course, the pleasures to the senses, the sustenance of their fruit and seeds, and the vast store of new metaphor. But we gazed even farther into the blossom of a flower and found something more: the crucible of beauty, if not art, and maybe even a glimpse into the meaning of life. For look into a flower, and what do you see? Into the very heart of nature’s double nature—that is, the contending energies of creation and dissolution, the spiring toward complex form and the tidal pull away from it. Apollo and Dionysus were names the Greeks gave to these two faces of nature, and nowhere in nature is their context as plain or as poignant as it is in the beauty of a flower and its rapid passing. There, the achievement of order against all odds and its blithe abandonment. There, the perfection of art and the blind flux of nature. There, somehow, both transcendence and necessity. Could that be it—right there, in a flower—the meaning of life?

The Botany of Desire Cover


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