Every Sunday now along the fifteen miles of back roads from Bridgewater to Brown Memorial Church, clarion blue chicory
blossoms accented with the first hints of goldenrod and delicate Queen Annes lace, wave smiling faces as I go to worship. My doorstep garden, too, multicolor with zinnias, petunias, marigolds, ageratum, and
sunflowers make joyful this midsummer hastening into fall. Having recently become
aware of Fibonacci’s discovery, how every flower petal is assigned a number sequence, I examine each blossom up close and marvel at this wonder, see for myself the Master Architect’s exquisite design
reproduced in all living things, yea, even in the spiral constancy of whirling constellations overhead in the night sky. Was it not Haydn who composed The Creation Symphony
to this same sequence and drumbeat of the Master Maestro’s baton?
Aldo Leopold in his epic essay on nature, A Sand County
Almanac, describes an August event in Clark County Wisconsin where Nature’s Master Artist paints an ephemeral picture
that exceeds any found indoors in any gallery. His small farm was on a river. “The work begins with a
broad ribbon of silt brushed thinly on the sand of a receding shore. As this
dries slowly in the sun, goldfinches bathe in its pools, and deer, herons, kill-deers, raccoons, and turtles cover it with
a lacework of tracks. There is no telling at this stage, whether anything further
will happen. But when I see the silt ribbon turning green with Eleocharis (moss),
I watch closely thereafter, for this is the sign that the river is in a painting mood.
Almost overnight the Eleocharis becomes a thick turf, so lush and so dense that the meadow mice from the adjoining
upland cannot resist the temptation. They move en masse to the green pasture,
and apparently spend the nights rubbing their ribs in its velvety depths. A maze
of neatly tended mouse-trails bespeaks their enthusiasm. The deer walk up and
down in it, apparently just for the pleasure of feeling it underfoot….At this stage the seedlings of plants too numerous
to count and too young to recognize spring to life from the damp warm sand under the green ribbon. To view the painting, give the river three more weeks of solitude, and then visit the bar on some bright
morning just after the sun has melted the daybreak fog. The artist has now laid
his colors and sprayed them with dew. The Eleocharis sod, greener than ever,
is now spangled with blue mimulus, pink dragon-head, and the milk-white blooms of Sagittaria.
Here and there a cardinal flower thrusts a red spear skyward. At the head
of the bar, purple ironweeds and pale pink joe-pyes stand tall against the wall of willows.
And if you have come quietly and humbly, as you should to any spot that can be beautiful only once, you may surprise
a fox-red deer, standing knee-high in the garden of his delight. Do not return
for a second view of the green pasture, for there is none. Either falling water
has dried it out, or rising water has scoured the bar to its original austerity of clean sand.
But in your mind you may hang up your picture, and hope that in some other summer the mood to paint may come upon the