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By Joseph Dempsey Volunteers Never Left

Sunday, February 22, 2009

"Where have all the flowers gone?" Nowhere. They never left.

You’re not likely to see a display like this one along an interstate highway or other major arterial. Along less traveled state highways and county roads, it’s another story altogether. On this end of the South, the byways that haven't been widened or improved are dotted with thousands of daffodil patches just like this one.

The house you see in the background is not occupied and apparently hasn’t been for a good stretch. The people are gone. In some cases, with similar daffodil populations, the houses are flat on the ground or will be shortly, but the daffodils — "jonquils" in this end of the country — remain alive and vibrant.

These yellow screamers are not tended to, fertilized, watered, pampered or cared for in any form, shape or fashion, thank you very much. They have been summarily abandoned, shunned, and perhaps, with a stretch of the language, eschewed. But it matters not. The flowers could care less. Their programming comes from a higher authority. My grandmother called 'em "volunteer flowers."

The last time they came into contact with a human being, they were buried at approximately the correct depth in an appropriate place, frequently near a tree. After that, Ma Nature puts ‘em on auto-pilot.

A lonely tree on the roadside is almost always a dead giveaway that there was once a residence close by. This time of the year, daffodils confirm our suspicions. Makes you wonder about what happened. Residences where daffodils were planted were in all likelihood inhabited by responsible folks who intended to stick around and watch their flowers bloom. For reasons unbeknown to us, things apparently didn’t go according to plan. Except for the daffodils. They are still performing as expected.

That which the higher authority places in motion generally performs as intended unless other natural events override the original intent. More likely, if the natural process is thwarted, the monkey wrench was dropped into the gearbox by one of us.

The countryside is a better place in the spring because of flowers left behind. Sometimes when a family moves away, it is simply too much trouble to dig up bulbs — even if the gardener happened to remember them, which is not likely is the rush of other concerns.

I surmise that the object lesson here is that not all untoward occurrences are untoward to all people. And some things are best left alone when properly functioning.

N O T E S:  
Nikon D300, hand held • AF-S Nikkor 18-135mm f3.5-5.6G ED @ 18 mm focal length (27 mm -35mm equivalent) • ISO 400 • 1/125@f18 • Post processed with Photoshop CS3 Extended, and Genuine Fractals Print Pro.

Check out our blog for more pictures and observations: Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

Click the jump wings
to see the previous
Photo of the Week.
Click the camera
for an index to every
Photo of the Week.
weekly grist

Most of the time, there is more to the Photo of the Week story than can be told in an essay. And most of the time there are more pictures to be seen. Presuming that some folk will enjoy being privy to this trove of information, I have created a blog, “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind,” where I am showing and telling “the rest of the story." There are also some blatantly commercial mentions of some of the things we do to earn our beans and taters. Click on the Weekly Grist logo and go to the blog.  — J. D.


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