Unexpected Beauty

This morning the sun came out. For many of you, that’s no big deal, as summer has been in full swing for you for a while and you’re complaining of the heat. But here in Oregon it has felt like summer will never come, so this morning’s sunshine was a really big deal.

I had to get out in it, so I figured it was the perfect moment for some flower watching, and I took several pictures. Here, look at this amazing Geum blossom, still shimmering with dew:

There are so many things blooming right now, gorgeous ruffly creatures like Peonies and Roses, the Garden Sage is a riot of Purple, the Creeping Buttercup is obscenely sunshine yellow, it’s amazing.

We easily recognize flowers and herbs as beautiful, but I don’t know that I’ve ever really considered the beauty of vegetables. Until this morning when I saw this:

I’m sure many of you know that it is the flower which will lead to a pea; specifically, a sugar snap pea. But I must not be very observant, for I’ve grown peas before, but never noticed the flowers. How could I have missed something so lovely? Furthermore, look at this:

The leaves of the pea plant, again with those shimmery dew drops.

I’ve mused before about our cultures ideas about bodies and beauty, and how it relates to food and eating habits. I think of the urban and suburban landscapes, and of how the plants that are valued so often in those places are the showy flowering things, or the easy to sculpt evergreen things, and how you won’t find truly useful plants in many places (unless they’re growing out of a crack in the sidewalk!) because they aren’t considered beautiful.

I’m sure I also mentioned before how I think that, if we are going to thrive in the days that are to come, we may have to revise our sense of aesthetics. I think we’re going to have to learn to see the way that food is beautiful, the way the plants food comes from are beautiful, and the way that healthy, well-nourished people are beautiful. I’m trying to learn to approach cooking and eating with gratitude, and awareness of the divine beauty in the source of life. I’m trying to learn to celebrate the delights of eating real, nourishing food. Maybe that’s why I noticed, for  first time, the beauty of the pea?

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