Friday, April 27, 2012

Jacks in the Pulpit, and a World Full of Prophets

I was working in the woods the other day. It was perfectly pleasant and serene.  Or at least as serene as work can be.  I saw quite a few "bog onions" or common jack-in-the-pulpits.  This spring ephemeral plant is native to much of the eastern United States and provides some great early season hunting habitat for predatory insects and bugs (look under the leaves in this picture)

I love the plant.  It's weird.  It appears in April and then disappears as the woods thicken in May.  Some subspecies have neat maroon stripes across the flower, but are still quite small.  Some are gigantic, but are still plain green.  But I like the tiny, plain green one just fine - I planted several  in our yard a few years ago, and they return faithfully every spring.

I like the plant.  I'm used to seeing it the way it is.  And I honestly couldn't imagine that its tiny special place in my heart and mind could be supplanted by anything else similar.   But then I saw this in the woods:

I found out later that it's the Japanese Jack-in-the-Pulpit.  It is extravagant, maybe even ridiculous.  Stout. Bold. In total, it was wonderful.  I heard of this plant 20 years ago when I worked as a landscaper for five dollars an hour.  It was a new import then, fetching anywhere between $50 and $100 per root.   I had never actually seen it until today.  Not surprisingly, it's a poisonous plant.  And obviously, not native to these parts.  But My God it is beautiful.  I had given up looking for it or caring about it, assuming that I'd seen enough similar plants to warrant not caring about this one.

It made me think about so many things that I read these days, and perhaps some of the things that you read here on River Mud.  It seems like there is no wonder anymore.  Everyone knows everything! No one is pensive anymore.  No one concedes that they could be - or have been - wrong. No sir.   In short, we are a brave culture of blind manure shovelers.

People make such wild assertions and have such bullheaded opinions on topics that we cannot possibly comprehend. How can we ever be so sure about things that are of this planet - or of our species - let alone things of the heavens?

How can we assume that we know what is best, when we've only seen a microscopic portion of what there is still out there - unknown?


BrookfieldAngler said...

I'm not going to lie...I really didn't see the life comparison coming!

And I definitely think I know everything so bravo, sir....bravo!

Kirk Mantay said...

There tends to be a very thin line between "I take my opinion writing very seriously" and "I take my own opinion very seriously."

I already knew that you know everything, because I also know everything.

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