The slowly opened

A song whispers on cool air with the perfume of a thousand blossoms.  Lavender and gold and crimson and white intertwine with a rainbow infinitely diverse.  They paint meadow and field in the colors of spring.

A spotted cucumber beetle (Diabrotica undecimpunctata) perched on the edge of rough gumweed (Grindelia scabra) (20080921_12634)

Each petal reaches, each rising star shines grand and new.  These bright lives climb from realms I have never traveled but which are known to me.  And they seek the sky with faces upturned.

A black and gold bumble bee (Bombus auricomus) licking tiny droplets of dew from the blossom of purple bindweed (a.k.a. cotton morning glory; Ipomoea trichocarpa) (20080921_12798)

Just as the slowly opened rise from earthen slumber, so too does an army of faithful who find in the coming warmth a dance that steps only to the music of flowers.

Syrphid flies (a.k.a. hover flies; Toxomerus marginatus) mating atop a common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) (2009_03_08_012853)

It is a love story, this song, one of powerful longings and intimate embraces.  It likewise is a chorus of endings, an operatic aria that each voice must sing only in its season.

A western honey bee (a.k.a. European honey bee; Apis mellifera) on white clover (Trifolium repens) (2009_03_21_013732)

The kaleidoscope of winter’s gray falls before the advance of these voices now filling the heavens, and russet is washed away by waves of verdant song.

A Gulf fritillary (a.k.a. passion butterfly; Agraulis vanillae) with its tongue out as it flies toward western ironweed (a.k.a. Baldwin’s ironweed; Verbesina baldwinii) (2009_07_09_026290)

With each new voice, a cacophony of dancers shakes the ground with spirited waltzes and lively tangos, for every singer demands a select audience, a diverse group of listeners who perform at the behest of their favorite soloist.

A Gulf fritillary (a.k.a. passion butterfly; Agraulis vanillae) feeding on western ironweed (a.k.a. Baldwin’s ironweed; Verbesina baldwinii) (2009_07_09_026298)

I find the silence of this song deafening, the loudest music I will never hear.

A large milkweed bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus) resting atop green antelopehorn (a.k.a. green milkweed, spider milkweed or antelope-horn milkweed; Asclepias viridis) (20080921_12670)

For now comes the time of the slowly opened and those who must needs be with them.  In all my years I have never tired of this presentation.  And in all my years, I watch for their voices and listen for the dance it portends.

— — — — — — — — — —

Photos (all from White Rock Lake):

[1] A spotted cucumber beetle (Diabrotica undecimpunctata) on an unidentified bloom.  The compound flower remains a mystery to me.  But I’m not the only Texan wondering what this plant is (e.g., here).  Introduced?  So easy to identify that it’s left out of all the guides we have access to?  It’s a unique plant and a unique blossom, so it’s not like I’m mistaking it for something else.  Well, I’ve said before that flowers vex me more than any other kind of life.  Hence this one goes on the diabolical challenge pile for later identification.  (And it’s probably something so evident and so common that I’ll kick myself for not recognizing it.)  [Update: I have since identified the flower as rough gumweed (Grindelia scabra).]

[2] A black and gold bumble bee (Bombus auricomus) licking dew from the blossom of purple bindweed (a.k.a. cotton morning glory; Ipomoea trichocarpa).  I’d watched the bee flit from bloom to bloom where it slipped inside for a sip of nectar and a spot of pollen.  It then paused on this flower for a few minutes.  Only when I approached did I realize it was licking tiny droplets of dew from the flower.

[3] Syrphid flies (a.k.a. hover flies; Toxomerus marginatus) mating atop a common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale).

[4] Western honey bee (a.k.a. European honey bee; Apis mellifera) visiting white clover (Trifolium repens).

[5] Gulf fritillary (a.k.a. passion butterfly; Agraulis vanillae) with its tongue hanging out as it approaches western ironweed (a.k.a. Baldwin’s ironweed; Verbesina baldwinii).

[6] The same Gulf fritillary (a.k.a. passion butterfly; Agraulis vanillae) feeding hungrily after landing on the western ironweed (a.k.a. Baldwin’s ironweed; Verbesina baldwinii).

[7] A large milkweed bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus) standing atop green antelopehorn (a.k.a. green milkweed, spider milkweed or antelope-horn milkweed; Asclepias viridis).

8 thoughts on “The slowly opened”

    1. I hope the music gets started for you soon, Marvin. I was thrilled by the number of wildflowers in bloom already. Looks like it’s going to be a wonderful spring!

  1. Judging by those photographs I think it’s tuned and already into the first bars of the Spring Overture! Beautiful to see colour and activity beginning to edge aside the long Winter . Here in Wales I saw my first butterfly last weekend, which I must say was a bit of a shock as the overnight ground-frosts are still very sharp and it’s early indeed to be thinking that the bad weather has been entirely vanquished.

    I love the fresh Spring colours of these photographs Jason. Lime greens and marshmallow pinks, citrus yellows and the russet coral of the milkweed bug. I think I’ll have to go mix some of those colours up in the studio. Spring’s-a-coming!

    1. Thanks to our southern locale, Clive, spring starts appearing by end of February even though we can get snow as late as April. During my weekend walk I showered in the vast amount of color that has shown up already–flowers and insects alike. And where winter brown once ruled, green has begun to reclaim the world. As much as I love winter, nothing compares to the overflow of life that fills the next nine months.

  2. I love the butterfly approaching the flower photo.

    Anyone can tell that’s a yellow comp 🙂

    I’ve been a little out of touch lately – needed time to recoup after my recent carnival orgy (which coincided exactly with a 2+ week hospital stay for my dad!). Nice to see a familiar source of beauty again.

    1. Thanks, Ted. That butterfly approaching the ironweed is my favorite as well. (Though I wasn’t quite prepared for a last-minute change of direction in flight and had to settle for some overall blur.) Winter always feels like a world of promise to me, a place where hidden narrative rests just below the surface waiting to be told, and I much prefer cold weather to anything else, but I find myself overjoyed that so much life is stirring now.

      I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. I hope all is well. And certainly no explanation needed. I live by the words of Elbert Hubbard in that regard: “Never explain–your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway.”

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