The Red Blossoms

                                   Summer mid 1970’s.   

The Red Blossoms were visible as soon as we crested a rolling hill in the North Dakota countryside.  A summer road trip meandering cross country after visiting a Hesseltine in-law at her retirement home in the Black Hills. 

I was not driving and in a meditative mood, and as is often my habit I was not wearing my glasses.

Watching the beautiful countryside slightly unfocused.  Then the blossoms!  A few hundred feet away, gorgeous bright red dots on the hill beside the roadside.  What a joy! The sharp points contrasting with the mellow embracing patchwork of many shades of greens really got my attention.   

I slipped my glasses on… what were these? poppies?  anemones?  Coca Cola cans!   My joy began wrestling with my indignation then yielded to amusement.  But what I learned about myself and the power of incomplete perception–the phenomenologically ambiguous–that was gorgeous.        

Professor Emeritus, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

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