While wandering around my shelves of the topics hiding poems and stories I found this one and decided to share it with you. I have no idea when "yesterday" was. I don't think it matters.
Yesterday I went for a walk along a trail nearby. Many bicycles with their riders passed by.
When I entered a part of the trail that went down beside and below an abandoned railroad track
I saw a tangle of brambles and weeds in all directions. There were beer cans and bottles among them. My first thought was “How ugly! There aren’t any flowers and it’s all a mess. Why did I bring my camera? There’s nothing here to see.” Then something said as though in whisper “Look a little closer.” Jewel weed was growing in a small patch beneath a choke cherry bush. I am familiar with this plant having seen it in Connecticut. I didn’t expect to see it here. The orange flowers are like ¾ inch tiger lilies. The leaves are one of the jewels. If you draw them back and forth in the water they appear silver on one side and gold on the other. When they go to seed they form a case which will spring open if brushed against and the seed shoot out all around the plant.
To see the jewel inside, scrape off the seed covering. Each seed is the color of a robin’s egg.
They are edible too.
As I walked farther along the trail I began to notice the deep red, almost black choke cherries shining in the sunlight. They were sweet and had very little of the ingredient in them that causes the person looking for a casual snack to have his mouth go dry. Burdocks were bristling with purple, long-leaf cottonwoods were perfuming the air with spice. When two boys raced past us on their bicycles, dropped them and raced under the bridge I couldn’t imagine what they were up to. I saw a little while later smoking cigarettes. My first thought was “how awful!” Then I paused, wanting to think better of them. I don’t know them. I may never see them again. But do I want to identify anyone as useless or vagrant or unpleasant? They may be like the jewel weed whose jewel needs to be looked for carefully.
It’s easy to have a plan for a walk on a sunny day that includes discovering wild flowers or sitting on a bench beside the river. It takes more work to let in thoughts of beauty when things don’t go the way we planned.