Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wildflowers at Maroon Bells

Maroon Bells wildflowers, from top: columbine, cow parsnip, blue flax

I'm not sure what inspires me most in beautiful landscapes, the big, breathtaking vistas of mountains and valleys, or the small treasures of wild, transient flowers.

At Maroon Bells, like the area above Aspen we toured by jeep some days before, there were meadows of flowers, each species a color that managed to blend in and stand out against against other flowers and the greens of stems and grasses. Each is a certain color for a certain reason, evolutionary wonders of form and function that bloom and die whether they are ever gazed upon or not. Nature rolls along with or without us, creating beauty in its own process of being.

Maybe it's the smaller miracles of nature that bring me the most pleasure and sense of awe; a wildflower is perhaps the most prosaic and humbling of all of them. It's just a flower, sure, but its whole genesis is as complicated and unknowable as the creation of the universe itself.