Thou spark of life that wavest wings of gold,
Thou songless wanderer mid the songful birds,
With Nature’s secrets in thy tints unrolled
Through gorgeous cipher, past the reach of words,
Yet dear to every child in glad pursuit beguiled
Living his unspoiled days mid flowers and flocks and herds!
Excerpt from Ode to a Butterfly by
~Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Edmund Clarence Stedman
A butterfly is one of the pollinating insects that carries and moves a flower’s grains of pollen around, and its labors enable fertilization and subsequent sexual reproduction. Given that, the butterfly is owed a debt of gratitude by us and the flower because its dance seems to be not only an act of celebratory reverence but also an act of jubilant purpose. And who among us mortals, either young or old, finds not joy in the butterfly’s gleeful and beguiling dance.
I often wonder why people who are easily wowed by the technology wrought of human hands fail to realize that without a dance, a marvel of Divine technology as seemingly insignificant as that of the bee and butterfly, that which supports our very existence would first be in great peril and then cease to exist. Neither do these individuals acknowledge that their ability to create technology is a gift, one not earned or designed by their own limited ability. The simple truth is that flowers cannot continue to exist without the help of a gracious and generous “pollinating” benefactor and neither can mankind. Each mortal’s life then should be a dance, an offering of reverent and joyful thankfulness to the Creator whose technology it is that creates life, enables the continuance of it, and gives us the intellect we need to create man-made technology.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. ~Psalm 139:13-14 ✝
A Ming vase can be well-designed
and well-made and is beautiful for that reason alone.
I don’t think this can be true for photography.
Unless there’s is something a little
incomplete and a little strange,
it will simply look like a copy of something pretty.
The annual beauty in a garden once spent is gone forever, except in memory, if not captured in some way. A camera is one of the ways we who love nature’s fleeting glory take it captive. Unlike Loengard, I believe photos can be more than just an uninteresting copy of a beautiful thing. For example part of what you see in the photograph above started out as that of a single rose. However, as an experiment with some computer technology, I turned the image into something “a little strange,” as Leongard suggests, and it added another level of interest. If one looks carefully at the altered image, fragmented pieces of what used to be negative spaces in the original photograph now have merged into engaging patterns, and so what can be seen raises questions about how much one really sees. “While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see,” claimed documentary photographer and photojournalist, Dorothea Lange. So it is that Hawthorne’s idea could be applied to my rose or his trees or to the reflection of anything, and it would speak a profound truth. We often don’t see what is right under our proverbial noses. The eternal underlies everything mankind sees, tastes, hears, touches, and smells, so much so that all things seem to quiver from the Divine energy emitted from them. But it’s only when the Lord’s demure presence is acknowledged that it becomes more and more keenly perceptible.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. ~2 Corinthians 4:18 ✝