Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for August 8th, 2021

Another announcer of botanical fall

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In a recent post I showed my first Maximilian sunflower for 2021. On that same day, July 31, near a pond off Kulmbacher Dr. in far north Austin I also saw my first snow-on-the-prairie plants (Euphorbia bicolor) for this year. The one pictured above hadn’t flowered yet; the one below had.


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Here’s another passage by Wendell Berry, this time from his 1998 essay “In Distrust of Movements”: “Once we allow our language to mean anything that anybody wants it to mean, it becomes impossible to mean what we say. When ‘homemade’ ceases to mean neither more nor less than ‘made at home,’ then it means anything, which is to say that it means nothing. The same decay is at work on words such as ‘conversation,’ ‘sustainable,’ ‘safe,’ ‘natural,’ ‘healthful, ‘sanitary,’ and ‘organic.’ The use of such words now requires the most exacting control of context and the use immediately of illustrative examples.”

You’ve probably noticed supermarkets selling mass-produced foods labeled ‘homemade.’ I just discovered there’s a brand of ice cream with that name, which I assure you health authorities don’t allow to be made in the homes of the company’s workers. And think of all the products in supermarkets labeled ‘natural,’ a term that has no legal definition that those companies must guarantee their foods comply with. A food can contain artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives yet still be labeled ‘natural.’ Oh well, I guess it’s only natural that hype is a part of human nature.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 8, 2021 at 4:30 AM

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