My system for collecting flower photos via e-mail had one little hole in it, through which several people’s beautiful offerings fell. I apologize most profusely. It must have been so upsetting to attend the service and not see your flowers.
I hope I can make something worthwhile out of this error by posting a brief meditation each day on one of these photos, until everyone’s has been included. In this way you are helping to carry our communion far past Sunday’s service.
Today’s photo comes from Glenda Jones, and the meditation is inspired by her flowers and the poem “Having Misidentified a Wild-Flower,” by Richard Wilbur.
We sometimes feel the pressure to approach nature with, if not expertise, then the correct names for things. What is that flower, we ask, and if we know its name, its species, then we may pass on, satisfied, as if we now know the flower.
But knowing the name of the species doesn’t tell us much more about the flower than knowing someone’s name tells us about the person. To really get to know someone, or something, takes attention, time . . . in other words, a kind of intimacy that is born of love and from which love grows.
In this poem, Richard Wilbur pokes fun at himself for that urge to identify, to label, to act as if identifications and labels are knowledge and knowledge is intimacy. Maybe nature laughs at us a little when we think we can label things. Maybe our mistakes are welcome reminders that we aren’t in charge of the world.
A thrush, because I’d been wrong,
Burst rightly into song
In a world not vague, not lonely,
Not governed by me only.
Whether or not you know the names of these flowers, can you take a little time now simply to come to know them a little, and see what happens when you do?