Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Flower power

I turned over some soil by the side of the house yesterday and planted Oriental poppy seeds. Two years from now, they will look like this:

Poppies and man have a love-hate relationship. They are the state flower of California, waving in the warm breeze -- and the illegal, national industry of Afghanistan, their juices being squeezed to make heroin or morphine, the profits being used to finance Taliban terror -- and to feed a poor peasant's family.

In Flanders Fields they famously grow, amongst the graves of the World War I dead. Elsewhere, more prosaicly speaking, their little black seeds lend crunch to a bagel.

In the hospital, their powerful synthetic cousins knock out pain.

I met poppies first in the pages of literature, when I was a kid, reading of the blooms that Dorothy encountered in Oz, that lulled her to slumber. It was a very strange chapter. I was young enough to have no understanding how a flower could possibly have such power.


Chase March said...

It’s hard to look at these flowers and not immediately think of two things. The first thing that comes to mind is the symbolism of war. The second thing is how they are used to make illegal drugs.

I guess the love/hate relationship is alive and well. Too bad, I can’t just admire the beauty of the flowers themselves.

Janice Thomson said...

I love poppies and look forward to the second year of mine to bloom. Their papery petals fascinate me. As for their mis-use, yes it is there, but it is not the poppy's fault - it is the human's fault. A poppy merely grows and looks pretty. It is we humans who step in and use it for other purposes.

Lizzy Dizzy said...

Umm... I am sorry I think its cute to see guys working in the garden but it just seems really strange because most guys try to act all macho and like they are the toughest guys in the entire world!! But hey if you have to watch a guy work in the garden you have to get use to it???!!!

Anonymous said...

I love poppies. I had them once in a wildflower garden, and I noticed they were all over Greece.

That scene in Wizard of Oz has a verse I frequently sing to myself,
"You're out of the woods
You're out of the dark
You're out of the night
Step into the sun,
step into the light."

Ela (braveheart) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the walking man said...

I like flowers. I like that nature provides a use for their by-products. I don't think the abuse of them should negate their pain management and psychotropic uses.

There is potential for a love/love relationship with plants. i miss my garden.


Molly said...

Gorgeous pic---takes me back to Flanders Fields!

Eastcoastdweller said...

Thank you all! I'll answer your posts individually later.