Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Two kinds of curls

with 21 comments

In Robert Kamper’s side yard in Round Rock on April 11th two kinds of curls made themselves known to me. The more obvious even had the word in their common name: blue curls (Phacelia congesta). The other curls—smaller, much more tightly wound, and harder to see—were tendrils of a Passiflora species, either incarnata or lutea; further development will reveal which one.


UPDATE: From the flowers that emerged on the vine shown in the bottom picture, Robert Kamper is able to say the plant is Passiflora incarnata.


❄︎         ❄︎         ❄︎



The most obvious and unarguable source of black innocence is the victimization that blacks endured for centuries at the hands of a race that insisted on black inferiority as a means to its own innocence and power. Like all victims, what blacks lost in power they gained in innocence—innocence that, in turn, entitled them to pursue power. This was the innocence that fueled the civil rights movement of the ’60s, and that gave blacks their first real power in American life—victimization metamorphosed into power via innocence. But this formula carries a drawback that I believe is virtually as devastating to blacks today as victimization once was. It is a formula that binds the victim to his victimization by linking his power to his status as a victim. And this, I’m convinced, is the tragedy of black power in America today. It is primarily a victim’s power, grounded too deeply in the entitlement derived from past injustice and in the innocence that Western/Christian tradition has always associated with poverty.

Whatever gains this power brings in the short run through political action, it undermines in the long run. Social victims may be collectively entitled, but they are all too often individually demoralized. Since the social victim has been oppressed by society, he comes to feel that his individual life will be improved more by changes in society than by his own initiative. Without realizing it, he makes society rather than himself the agent of change. The power he finds in his victimization may lead him to collective action against society, but it also encourages passivity within the sphere of his personal life.

That passage is as pertinent today as when Shelby Steele wrote it in 1988—actually even more pertinent because it’s 34 years later and many people still haven’t gotten his message. You’re welcome to read the full Harper’s article, “I’m Black, You’re White, Who’s Innocent? Race and power in an era of blame.”

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 20, 2022 at 4:27 AM

21 Responses

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  1. I’ve not seen any blue curls this year. They were thick in the Rockport cemetery in past years, but of course I missed that bloom by a few weeks. My friend in Kerrville has them in her yard, but she’s only watering a few plants because she has a shallow well; when I get there, I’ll find out whether the blue curls got their drink.

    That spring-like tendril certainly does look springy, in every sense of the word.

    Have you happened across this article by Jonathan Haidt? It’s a good one.


    April 20, 2022 at 6:20 AM

    • I’ve been seeing blue curls in a number of places for the past couple of weeks, including just the other day. So even if you don’t see good specimens at your friend’s place in Kerrville, you could well see some elsewhere.

      I’m not an Atlantic subscriber. Your link did work for me (some publications allow non-subscribers a certain number of freebies), so I’ll go ahead and read Jonathan Haidt’s article.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 20, 2022 at 5:52 PM

    • Now I’ve had a chance to read Haidt’s article, which I’ll call attention to in a post next week. Thanks for the referral.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 21, 2022 at 6:26 AM

  2. Both are lovely images! The top one is my favorite of the two.


    April 20, 2022 at 7:47 AM

  3. Two beautiful curls.


    April 20, 2022 at 11:12 AM

  4. Very cool curls! Love the detail in the first.


    April 20, 2022 at 11:46 AM

  5. Two great finds and nice of Robert to share them with you.

    Steve Gingold

    April 21, 2022 at 2:41 AM

    • He invited me over for the prairie celestials growing in the greenbelt right behind his back fence. Within his yard he’s cultivated various native plant species, including these two, which I took the opportunity to photograph when I was on my way out of his yard to get back to my car.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 21, 2022 at 4:23 AM

  6. Oh these are lovely! Curls and spiral. Well done!

    Alessandra Chaves

    April 21, 2022 at 8:11 AM

  7. Stunning curls


    April 21, 2022 at 8:30 AM

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