Looking at the photo Butterfly on Asters by Lisa Smith Nelson, I’m immediately reminded of a story in Robin Wall Kimmerer’s “Braiding Sweetgrass”.  Kimmerer is asked by her college advisor why she wants to study botany.  She tells him she is hoping to learn “about why asters and goldenrod looked so beautiful together”.  Her advisor is appalled.  To him, the beauty of a field of flowers has no place in science.

I could have told her, as her artist friends later did, about complementary colors.  But I did not know, as she learned in her further studies, that the eyes of bees, like those of humans, are naturally attracted to complementary colors.  I looked up butterflies and their vision, too, is similarly color sensitive.  When asters and goldenrod grow together, they complement each other in more than color—they attract more pollinators.  Plants need pollinators to reproduce. 

The combination of purple and yellow is part of the ecosystem.

It seems that beauty is indeed a necessity for life.

which came first–
the delicate wings
or the seed?

Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday prompt this week was a photo chosen and taken by Lisa Smith Nelson, above.

35 thoughts on “Correspondences

    1. Thanks David.
      If Nina ever comes back, I’ll post more on memadtwo. I only started kblog because I didn’t want our blog to be just me. Because they are longstanding series, I do my monthly grid and draw a bird day on memadtwo, and I can only reblog the Kick About posts there because of the way WordPress operates. And I think the Thursday Doors belong there as well, although I’m not sure why I think that..
      Everything else I put on kblog.


  1. This is so good on the eyes and heart on a cold fall day. And I love that book so much; when I first read it I felt like if it was required reading in everyone’s teens, we’d have a radically better society and a world on the mend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sun. I agree about the book. But I wonder–it’s a bestseller, why aren’t there more people agitating for change? I suppose those who need most to read it would never stoop to such a thing though. It would have to be required in school, except then their parents would seek to have it banned…(sigh)

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    1. Thanks!
      I think artists have always acknowledged the usefulness of science, but science, especially today, is not so welcoming of other less “exact” disciplines. Math on the other hand seems more flexible as well, perhaps because it requires so many leaps of faith. Math is used for data, but they are not the same thing at all.

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  2. Kerfe, your words and your painted interpretation of the image, both speak to me. The vibrant color of the aster and the butterfly… what a combination! For nature to recognize the complimentary colors between the flowers and the bees makes me marvel at the creativity of the universe. Those natural contrasts are everywhere. I keep looking at your watercolor… I see creation in the making. ❤

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  3. So stunning – your artwork and poem – both compliment each other perfectly! And the backstory here, your point of inspiration is wonderful and insightful. Colour plays a far greater role, often in mystical and mysteries ways, than we can ever understand and/or imagine. It’s especially crucial in nature – both as attractor and deterrent. And the relationships between plants and creatures, as such is equally wild and mysterious.

    As I was reading your post I was smiling along, nodding – where I am, there is an acre of “wild” – a field filled with goldenrod and other plants, including wild asters, milkweed, Queen Anne’s lace etc. – and I’m always in awe of how things interconnect and unfold, as the seasons mark their time. It’s a fascinating tableaux/stage upon which butterflies, bees, birds and all others preen and prance. A true delight and magic in the making. I’m truly lucky to bear witness to it – and so I really appreciate your wonderful post. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your lovely comments. You are indeed lucky to have a wild place nearby. It’s difficult to find them anywhere anymore. We have so civilized the world, we’ve forgotten how to live in it.

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      1. Urban living is much different than rural, to be sure. And both have their pros and cons, but ah, the sweetness of the wild spaces! Although sometimes, it’s rather very savage. But such is life.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Very true. In some ways, it’s more shocking, when there’s a sudden eruption of the natural savagery that co-exists within the shadows and spaces. Funny how we warp (hmm) – I meant wrap – ourselves in concrete, glass and asphalt insulation and think we’re safe, untouchable.

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