Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Flowers Are Singing

(Reclaimed from Bubblews, where this was posted on August 21, 2013. Bubblews destroyed the photo I'd used to illustrate this story...at least Tony7 at Morguefile.com offers a clear, close-up image of the same plant.)

Well, the digital camera works, but it's a cheap little thing. (What did I expect for $20?) I tried to get a photo of a massive, gorgeous sage bush on the road to the Cat Sanctuary. It's a cloudy day, and all I could see on the camera's tiny screen was a dark gray blur. The "thumbnail size" images on the screen usually look more lifelike on a real computer screen. I couldn't convince myself that this grayed-out blur would show up as a big green bush covered with purple flowers and black and yellow butterflies, though.

Every time I've passed that bush, all summer long, I've thought of an odd choice of words in one of Kaffe Fassett's knitting books. Knitters will know the kind of picture I'm talking about...attractive young people in one-of-a-kind sweaters made from fifty different kinds of yarn, posed in a garden of luxurious flowers...and the caption described them as "singing." 

Singing? Not when they were photographed, surely? Their mouths aren't open?

Then I remember how, in one of Euell Gibbons' wild plant books, he described "hearing a basswood tree" in bloom. The tree attracted so many bees that before he and his hiking buddies actually saw the tree, they could hear the bees humming.

The flowering sage bush was humming. Almost every flower had a bee or butterfly buzzing around it. This is real sage, Salvia, the herb genus from which the kitchen spice is made; the flowers smell sweeter, fresher, more subtle than a spice jar.