I hold no preference among flowers, so long as they are wild, free, spontaneous

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Bricks to all greenhouses! Black thumb and cutworm to the potted plant!

The cliffrose is practical as well as pretty. […] The Indians too, a practical people, once used the bark of this plant for sandals, mats and rope, and the Hopi medicine man is said, even today, to mash and cook the leaves as an emetic for his patients.

Because of its clouds of flowers the cliffrose is the showiest plant in canyon county, but the most beautiful individual flower, most people would agree, is that of the cacti: the prickly pear, the hedgehog, the fishhook. Merely opinion, of course. But the various cactus flowers have earned the distinction claimed for them on the basis of their size, their delicacy, their brilliance, and their transcience – they bloom, many of them for one day only in each year. Is that a fair criterion of beauty? I don’t know. For myself I hold no preference among flowers, so long as they are wild, free, spontaneous. (Bricks to all greenhouses! Black thumb and cutworm to the potted plant!)

by Edward Abbey (January 29, 1927 – March 14, 1989)
from Desert Solitaire (1968)
image – J. N. Stuart (used by permission)

Everyday Beauty

Edward Abbey wrote about the desert landscape the way M.F.K. Fisher wrote about food – soaked with poetry and philosophy and sympathetic history. Though he no holds “no preference among flowers,” every “rose” is his best and deepest love, and every scraping of dirt holds the blood of creation.

If I had my life to live over, with considerably more hours in each day, I’d want to live a journey like his, or at least have time to read and re-read books like his. Today, if nothing else, I can share an excerpt.

And, if I let go and focus on that there are only so many hours in a day and years in a life, I might just remember to really see and live the day in which I am.

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