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Looking under leaves. June 26, 2009

Posted by ourfriendben in gardening, wit and wisdom.
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Maybe it’s just the gardener in me, but usually, if I’m looking at the underside of a plant’s leaves, I’m checking for spider mites or insect eggs or some other horror rather than simply admiring them. It might never have occurred to our friend Ben that the undersides of leaves could be beautiful if I hadn’t seen the ongoing series of backlit leaf photographs by Mr. Subjunctive on his blog, Plants Are the Strangest People¬†(http://plantsarethestrangestpeople.blogspot.com/).

Our friend Ben can’t manage to take a photograph that captures the entire head of a family member or¬†excludes my thumb, so I’m always impressed when someone else can take beautiful photos. But I’m even more impressed when the photos, like a poem, open our minds and imaginations to a new way of seeing something.

Anyway, I guess Mr. Subjunctive’s series must have subconsciously sensitized me, because today as I sat down at the computer, I looked towards the window and was struck by the beauty of the undersides of one of our begonia’s leaves. With the morning light from the East-facing window illuminating them, the network of prominent red veins stood out against the glittering green-red of the leaves’ under-surfaces like a river branching into a delta. It really was a beautiful sight.

Our friend Ben vows to try to take a little more time looking for beauty to balance the time spent looking for trouble. And what works for leaves works for life as well. Thanks, Mr. S., for the insight!