Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What Is Real?

“That orchid doesn’t look real.
It looks like a silk flower,” she said.

       No, no, no. That orchid does not look like a silk flower. A silk flower looks like that orchid.

Have we become so far separated from nature that when we see her efforts we compare them to what is false, manmade, yet omnipresent?

Walking on the beach, my neck aches from looking down, for sea glass and interesting shells. I caught myself saying, “That looks just like pasta!” No, no, no. The pasta looks like these shells.
Bellflowers have delightful shapes. How often have I looked at one of them and pictured in my mind a facsimile of the flower—a dinner bell, the Liberty Bell, a school bell, a cat’s collar bell? No, no, no. Those bells look like the flowers.

Placed in a vase, these dwarf blue delphiniums stun with their cobalt hues and have often drawn the query: “Are they real?” Of course they’re real; it’s the bottles, and jars, and wanna-bes in the floral department of the craft store that aren’t real.

Thin, wispy petals of poppies are often compared to tissue paper or their wrinkled surface is likened to crepe paper. No, no, no. The tissue paper and crepe paper look like the poppies—not the other way around.

What is real? It doesn’t come in a box, or a bag, or a jar most times. And it’s not a rabbit in a children’s story (that, by the way, is not a favorite of mine). Look today for what’s real and note just how often a poor imitation represents what is real in nature.

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