Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Green and red will knock you dead

with 56 comments

Okay, so I don’t really expect today’s picture to kill you, but look at the bold contrast between this katydid nymph (I think) and the saturated red of the cedar sage flowers (Salvia roemeriana) it was on. This picture comes from April 25th in my neighborhood.

* * * * * * * * *

I’d like to point you to a draft version of an important article entitled “The Empowering of the American Mind,” by Greg Lukianoff, co-author of the book The Coddling of the American Mind. This draft puts forth 10 principles, the first of which is that there must be no compelled speech, thought, or belief. The article includes quotations from various court decisions, including the following three from West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, United States Supreme Court, 1943.

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.

[F]reedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order.

Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.

And from Greg Lukianoff comes this: “Any ideology that cannot be questioned is indistinguishable from fundamentalist religion.”

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 4, 2021 at 4:43 AM

56 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. It won’t knock me dead thank heavens but it does knock my socks off! The bright red and green are so lively and exuberant, and I love your photo! 😀

    Ms. Liz

    May 4, 2021 at 4:53 AM

    • You can always put your socks back on. Returning to life after you’ve died is a harder undertaking, and one an undertaker can’t help with. The red of the cedar sage rivals the red of your Gravatar.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 4, 2021 at 6:09 AM

      • Yes, haha! I noticed the cedar sage is seriously competitive with my Gravatar (cropped from a photo of a gazania that was in a previous garden of ours). The brightness of both species is wonderful!

        Ms. Liz

        May 4, 2021 at 6:18 AM

  2. Love the photo, and the quotes. The last is so apt. We are questioning everything we see or hear on a daily basis in our household!
    The title of this post reminded me of an old saying which I think was used to refer to fashion rules…’red and green should never be seen’. At least we are still free to wear what we want if you don’t count the compulsory masks…..


    May 4, 2021 at 5:12 AM

  3. Vivid and fun shot, a knockout, we’re tickled pink? Well no, how about, glad you rolled out the red carpet for this critter.

    Robert Parker

    May 4, 2021 at 5:43 AM

  4. Brilliant colour palette … indeed you’ve rolled out the red carpet 👌❣️ sending joy hedy 💫

    sloppy buddhist

    May 4, 2021 at 8:14 AM

    • Coincidentally, the wildflower called Indian blanket or firewheel is now forming red carpets in some places on the prairie.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 4, 2021 at 8:33 AM

  5. Uau. Very contemporary quote.

    Alessandra Chaves

    May 4, 2021 at 8:20 AM

    • That’s the first time I’ve ever seen the Portuguese spelling of wow.
      Yes, the quotations are pertinent to what we’re living through now.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 4, 2021 at 8:37 AM

      • You pronounce it exactly how you read it!

        Alessandra Chaves

        May 4, 2021 at 8:40 AM

        • That’s how I knew what it was. Wiktionary confirms the Portuguese word was taken from English wow.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 4, 2021 at 11:44 AM

          • Oh, I did not know that!

            Alessandra Chaves

            May 4, 2021 at 2:08 PM

            • I seem to remember hearing it used in French or German, too. English has been very influential over the past century.

              Steve Schwartzman

              May 4, 2021 at 4:42 PM

              • Where I come from there are more common expressions of surprise like “nossa” “minha nossa”, “caramba”, “Caracas”. The first two are religious, refer to Virgin Mary. Uau is more common among the youth and expatriates like myself.

                Alessandra Chaves

                May 4, 2021 at 5:37 PM

  6. It’s Christmas in May! 🤣 The macro is excellent and the colors are wonderful.


    May 4, 2021 at 8:28 AM

  7. Those vibrant colors certainly are appealing, not to mention the details on the nymph. The striped legs and antennae are a particularly nice touch: and what big eyes it has.

    It doesn’t take particularly sharp eyes to see what’s happening in society today: or ears, for that matter. The amount of self-censorship that’s taking place is alarming. Two years ago, I rarely heard someone mention it. Today? Conversations that include phrases like “It seems to me that… but I’d never say that publicly” are common. I’ve been reading and pondering Solzhenitsyn’s 1974 “Live Not by Lies” essay, caught by paragraphs like this:

    “He who is not sufficiently courageous even to defend his soul — don’t let him be proud of his “progressive” views, and don’t let him boast that he is an academician or a people’s artist, a merited figure, or a general –let him say to himself: I am in the herd, and a coward. It’s all the same to me as long as I’m fed and warm.”


    May 4, 2021 at 8:37 AM

    • Just this morning or last night I thought about Solzhenitsyn and the suggestion I recently heard that his works, especially The Gulag Archipelago, should be required reading in college classes to counteract the propaganda currently foisted off on students. The paragraph you quoted gets to the heart of the matter.

      Last night we watched a one-hour discussion with Jordan Peterson, who came into the news about five years ago (and has stayed there since) when as a college professor he said he would refuse to use any government-mandated made-up pronouns like ze and zer. The interviewer asked him if that has made him happy. He said no, not in the normal sense of the word, but he had to stand by the truth, and the consequences of not speaking up would be worse.

      So with regard to people increasingly saying things like “It seems to me that… but I’d never say that publicly,” I’ve started speaking out here because I don’t want to be among the cowed and the silenced. I have to say what I have to say.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 4, 2021 at 8:50 AM

  8. The katydid nymph was very cooperative to place itself on a red object. Perhaps it felt like showing off its beauty. After all, it is a nymph. On a green leaf, it would not have been so easily discovered.

    Peter Klopp

    May 4, 2021 at 8:38 AM

    • I’m fortunate to have noticed the nymph, given how small it was. Whether it wanted to show off, I don’t know, but I wanted to show it off.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 4, 2021 at 11:39 AM

  9. Love the green and red. I had a nice, and rather early, showing of cedar sage in my garden and some are still blooming that stunning red. Lovely photo!


    May 4, 2021 at 8:57 AM

    • The fact that yours are still blooming gives me hope of seeing more. My experience is that they often linger a good while in the woods.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 4, 2021 at 11:41 AM

  10. Further to your earlier commenter – the full phrase I grew up with is red and green should never be seen except on an Irish Queen!

    • Thanks for your emendation. I don’t believe I ever heard the first version, much less your longer one. Wikipedia notes that “There have been no native queens of Ireland since the late 12th century, following the complex sequence of the Norman invasion of Ireland, Treaty of Windsor (1175), and death of the last true High King of Ireland, Rory O’Connor, in 1198.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 4, 2021 at 1:05 PM

      • I suppose in that case the suggestion is that the person who could carry off the combination of red, as in the Redcoats or British soldiers, and the green of Ireland doesn’t exist!

        • That’s a good interpretation. It’s in the tradition of “when pigs have wings” and “till hell freezes over.”

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 4, 2021 at 1:20 PM

  11. Those are lovely, complementary flower and insect details, Steve.


    May 4, 2021 at 7:08 PM

  12. I think that you are correct with your ID of a katydid nymph. You may not know for sure as I am told that with many a genital dissection is the only way to clearly get a species.

    Steve Gingold

    May 5, 2021 at 2:53 AM

  13. I love this photo for color and composition. That is a beautiful insect on that cedar sage.

    Lavinia Ross

    May 10, 2021 at 10:31 AM

    • And there are even some reddish areas on the insect that harmonize with the crimson of the cedar sage flowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 10, 2021 at 11:47 AM

      • You catch some beautiful things on camera.

        Lavinia Ross

        May 11, 2021 at 9:45 AM

        • There’s so much out there to see. I assume that if I spend time in nature I’ll find something. At times it’s something specific I set out to see, but often it’s something unexpected.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 11, 2021 at 3:40 PM

  14. Loving that sage red … great colour combination


    May 11, 2021 at 2:29 PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: