We are about 10 days away from the vernal equinox. It is a refreshing time – a time for new beginnings and great hope. And for about the past 10 days in the midst of rain and turbulent weather, the signs of spring have been present. We don’t have to go far to find it and enjoy all that it has to offer. Just a few steps from my studio door, the first signs of this wonderful season in my neighborhood can be seen and enjoyed.
These wonderfully vibrant yellow clover blossoms are almost everywhere I look these days. In front yards, around trees, along the curb line and in garden flower beds, these near fluorescent flowers just glow with new life. They love the warm sun. Without the warmth of the sunlight or in the absence of the sun altogether they just close up and hang down. I decided to get up close and personal with these lovely little flowers yesterday afternoon and was amazed at what I saw.
They glow so brightly that they just bring on a smile. The slightest breeze can move them and this tried my patience greatly for the time I spent with them. But looking closer yet, the detail that they hold starts to really astonish the eye.
The closer I looked the more amazed I became. From fine ridges on their delicate yellow petals to the green spirals that lead into the center to the fine stamen and pistils and the ever important pollen dust lingering in wait for the wind or an insect to come and preserve future generations to come.
Just as I started to ponder on that, I heard a buzz. I looked up from the camera’s viewfinder to see a lone honeybee had decided to visit the very patch that I had been photographing. Now you would think that with the great technology of today’s digital cameras that capturing this bee in a photo would be easy. However, I was using an older manual focus lens – yeah I know call me crazy, but how often does a tree or rock just get up and start running away in a landscape that I would need a fast auto focus lens? Anyway after burning many pixels I was able to capture this little guest of the clover coming in for a landing and the subsequent meal and pollination that took place.
It was a very awe inspiring interaction to witness. This little bee flying in from who knows how far away to visit these little flowers and to feed on the minute amount of nectar that they produce. And in the process it secures the existence of future clover plants to come in the coming spring of NEXT year! These flowers exist, not for the pleasure of the onlooker, or for the sake of the bee, but only for the survival of itself. It is astonishing to see the contrast between how a plant selfishly secures its future compared to how we greedily attempt to secure ours.
While we rake each other over the coals and throw one another under the bus to accumulate more wealth and leave the rest for dead, the flowers give much more than they receive and sacrifice only themselves once pollination is complete. From the vibrant colors to the sweet perfumes that lure the bee and us to them, to the honey that results from the bee’s hive which feeds thousands of immature bees to sweetening our foods and drinks, the simple little clover – the unsung hero of the spring flower world – goes nearly unnoticed and regarded as a weed – how sad.
Would that we could be so giving as the clover. How many great things could we achieve? In this wonderfully hopeful season when life renews and Mother Earth is glowing with this new life, I think it would be well worth our time in our human realm to foster growth and prosperity by helping each other get through this difficult time in our lives.
Peace – Youssef Ismail