Flowers, unlike birds, don’t fly off and hide when I approach. They’re like rocks in that regard: delightfully immobile. Perhaps that’s why we get on so well.
But unlike rocks, flowers are brief. A few days, a few months, then gone until next season. These lovely lilies from atop Marys Peak blazed in the warm summer sun: now they are no more.
But they’re glorious while they last. No wonder Ben Jonson eulogized his infant son by speaking of lilies.
The Noble Nature
It is not growing like a tree
In bulk, doth make Man better be;
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere:
A lily of a day
Is fairer far in May,
Although it fall and die that night -
It was the plant and flower of light.
In small proportions we just beauties see;
And in short measures life may perfect be.
This isn’t likely to be the type of lily that features in Ben Jonson’s memorial, but it belongs to the genus that inspired a genius. And if you visit Marys Peak on a day in July, you can sit in fields full of them, and drink sunshine and poetry while the butterflies flutter around you. They have brief lives, yes, but as the poet said, it’s not the length of time that matters.