Fireworks and Fairy Bells

The Arctic heather and ground rhododendron turn the land purple and white. A haze of impossible beauty, breathtaking from near and far, inconceivable in scale and shockingly brief in duration.

These two seem to share a favorite microbiome: those plateaus that are neither too sandy nor too damp. Fireworks and fairy bells. The rhododendrons remind me of the azaleas of my homeland, but the heather are my favorite. They can’t help being magical.

I get sentimental in the presence of such expansive, momentary beauty. Like infancy or a sunset, I want to capture it and contain it, because I know how brief it is. They are a study in the present.

These little blooms laugh at my melancholy. They have short lives, but long memories. Each year’s growth builds on an old plant that lies dormant under the snow, then makes the most of a year’s worth of sun in a few months.

One day we will see beauty that does not pass away. Self will observe without interfering, will interact without destroying, and will share the joy with mutual understanding. I may not live completely in the present, but I can look forward to that new birth. Like these little flowers live and die in the knowledge of next summer.


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