Portraits of Wildflowers

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Archive for August 3rd, 2014

The head that’s behind is ahead of the head that’s behind it *

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Sneezeweed Flower Head in Front of Another 3841

Here are two flower heads of what’s been called sneezeweed, Helenium quadridentatum. I find these flowers not at all weedy—in fact another scientific name for this species is the doubly elegant Helenium elegans var. elegans—and I’m not aware that they’ve ever made me sneeze, at least not more than every other pollen-bearing thing out there in nature.

The date was June 15th and the location was the Warbler Vista component of the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge northwest of Austin.


* Interpret the title in both a developmental and spatial sense (whether developmentally then spatially then spatially, or spatially then developmentally then developmentally) and it makes sense. Honest. And isn’t it strange the way our English syntax and semantics allow those two complementary interpretations, both of which are true?

UPDATE. If even that explanation seems cryptic, let me go ahead and give the two interpretations:

1) The head that’s behind [in the back] is ahead of [more developed than] the head that’s behind [less developed than] it .

2) The head that’s behind [less developed] is ahead of [in front of] the head that’s behind [in back of] it.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 3, 2014 at 5:50 AM

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