The beauty of the farmland fields were indifferent in their spring broadcast of a soft purple hue. Gazing across the rolling hills of wildflowers, the fields did not know that they gently held my transformative thoughts. With what seemed a suddenness, some of the fields changed from purple to a bright yellow. Little did I know while enjoying these captivatingly colorful landscapes that they are a bane to our farmers.
The purple flowers are from one of two plants. One is named henbit and the other is purple dead nettle. Both are of the mint family. Purple dead nettle grows mostly in the southern counties of Indiana. When this weed takes over a field, being a plant that germinates in the fall, it grows quickly in the spring. But it does more than that. It takes valuable nutrients from the soil. Many lawns are dotted with purple dead nettle. Mine included.
The bright native yellow weed is called yellow butterweed or cressleaf groundset. It is also known as ragwort, senicio, and mustard plant. It germinates in the fall, too, and the seeds can live many years. This plant has more bad qualities than purple dead nettle! It is toxic to horses and cattle when eaten. Cressleaf groundset grows at the edges of my backyard.
So all that musing I was doing about the beauty of our farmland and how the riches of the Earth enhance our daily lives was done without true knowledge of the hidden harm in this colorful landscape.
Purple and yellow fields--Posey (above) and Gibson County (below), Indiana.
Images via Angelia Phillips of flashPress.
A truer analogy to the human psych cannot be found. Think of the people whom you have met throughout your life who have worn a facade of friendliness and caring (the lovely fields of flowers), but whose agenda holds harmful intentions. What can one do when faced with a deleterious dilemma? Does one acquiesce? Or, does one, like others in these situations, think they can bring about change? It is not likely even though the heart holds unending hope. Truth does not always set one free.
Earth Day was Saturday, April 22, a rainy day; and I was drawn back to thinking about the fields of flowers and our threatened Earth. Many people think of Earth Day as an important time to shout about environmental concerns and actions that can be taken. But as Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, writes, “____ (it) is not just an environmental issue. It’s a human rights issue. The fact that some people don’t have access to nature—or safe drinking water, or clean air.” Do you think Earth may bite us back for our heedlessness?
To think that I do have access to nature at Harmonie State Park and other wilderness areas when others do not astonishes me! However, to think that I can drive down the highway and see our lovely fields without knowing the harmful side effects has made me heed the importance of learning the facts before basking in the beauty of a friendship or a field.
A contemporary prayer from a Native American says much: Great Spirit, I pray for myself in order that I may be healed. Great Spirit, I pray for my friend who is sick that he may be healed. Great Spirit, I pray for our land so that all the bad things we have done to it may be healed. Great Spirit, I pray for the environment. I pray for its cleansing, and the renewal of Mother Earth. Amen.