The Flannel Flower

Photo0251(1)Another busy day – a long meeting and a hastily snatched lunch break before braving the aisles of the local supermarket.  I buy a sandwich at a village in the Lower Mountains before driving around the semi-rural backstreets to find a quiet place to eat.  Finding my mind leaping ahead to the dreaded shopping expedition, I stop and look instead at the neglected nature-strip beside the car.

At first it appears simply to be a tangle of weeds and grasses, decaying vegetation strangled by sappy groundcovers, brash saplings and peeling tree-trunks.  But as I observe more closely, it is clear that this was once a well-tended area, laid out with care, a small garden of specimen plants chosen to complement the now-derelict garden behind the fence.

Slowly, detail emerges from the riot of texture and colour and I perceive an entire ecology, a miniature forest of canopy, emergent and understory.

Solomon’s Seal thrives beside feral pittosporum and, in a small clearing where a handkerchief sized swath of woodchips has managed to resist the incursion of kikuyu, a single flannel flower lifts its head to the sun.  I am mesmerized by this small, native flower, so beloved of children and adults alike for its petals, the texture of puppies’ ears.  How has it managed to survive and re-emerge each year?  Is it simply chance that it thrives among the chaos, or is it a symbol of hope, of clinging to the possibility of renewal, a metaphor for the person who lives in the tumbledown cottage behind the fence?

I do not know the answer to these questions and never will.  But the quarter-hour I spend, observing the minutiae of a domestic nature-strip, yields a gentle insight into the nature of existence, where islands of beauty and order can be found, even in the midst of chaos.


4 thoughts on “The Flannel Flower

  1. Dearest Angie
    It is so lovely to keep contact with you in this way. Thank you for your thoughts and reflections. Love, Jane


  2. Dear Angie,
    Loved reading this. How looking closely always reveals great beauty, otherwise invisible. Thank you for sharing your mindful eye and heart here.



  3. Dear Angie,
    How eloquently you paint this suburban streetscape, showing us the beauty that reveals itself when we sit still and are fully present. Thank you.


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