This is what I get to see every morning when I drive the Red Dirt kids to school. The road to and from my log house is a gray oil and chip ribbon running north and south. It was once gravel which was more asthetically pleasing, but my throat, tongue and eyes were always coated with red dust and now appreciate the asphalt. Alongside the road grow numerous flowers which change throughout the seasons.
We’re in late spring, and the spiderwort is blooming heavily now, with the most intense blue I’ve ever seen. I know it’s called common, but it doesn’t seem very common to me. While coming home from church, even HH stopped the car to look.
Later, I sweet talked him into taking me in the jeep on a photog safari. If a few of the photos look a little blurred, it’s because he narrated my picture taking along the way a la Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom which we watched every Friday night during our respective childhoods. I tried very hard not to laugh, and I finally had to stomp my foot and tell him to stop it.
These prairie plants exist at the edge of the deciduous forest, their delicate beauty emerges from the sandy soil and just as quickly they fade away. When I’m this close taking macro images of them, I’m always thinking of the Bible verse,
“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.” Luke 12:27
In my mind, I always see Jesus standing on the side of a mountain filled with wildflowers as he said this. I find great comfort when I consider the lilies even when they aren’t lilies at all.
Special thanks goes to Van Vies, who is a docent with the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. His Oklahoma Prairie Country website has a flower identification page which I found very helpful for some of the flowers I didn’t know offhand. Because winter vetch is not a native wildflower, but instead an European import used as a cover crop, it was not listed on Mr. Vies’s site. I found it’s identification elsewhere. It has escaped from the fields and now occupies the hedgerows too.
So, back to the question with which we first began. Wildflowers or roadside weeds. I believe that if you look closely as you drive by, you’ll find the answer. What do you think?