Saturday, March 10, 2012


i guess that everybody in these parts thinks of snowdrops as 'the first signs of spring'. that's what we have been told in first grade. i saw them today afternoon on my walk in the snow-patched trebjesa hill, and they brought a smile to my face. i remember the excitement about them, which is strange because flowers are usually not that exciting for kids. there was a kind of aura around them, a tickling mysteriousness - flowers growing under snow!

the next station in the train of thought is grade four, and a class on 'nature and society'. our teacher rosa told us to go and find snowcaps, dig them out complete with the bulbs, and leave them overnight in water to which colour ink was added. i didn't know where to look for them, so my friend slobo took me to the top of the trebjesa hill, where we found them under a huge rock. i put them in several glasses of different-coloured water. in the morning the veins in the white petals were stained red, blue, violet, green. thus we learned the principle of osmosis, and the mysteriousness of snowcaps was further increased.

in my adult life i kept coming back to the picture of delicate flowers, the whiteness of which was marred by what they have absorbed. it reminds me of a metaphor used by a hindu guru, who said that humans are like transparent glass, reflecting whichever colour is in its vicinity. in other words, the different colours symbolize influences we suck in from our environments. it seems we are unable to resist them, and also unaware of their workings. on the other hand, there's also the metaphor of the lotus flower, luxuriantly sprawling its impeccable white petals in the midst of muddy waters. so, it seems some flowers do not succumb to outer influences. what about us humans, then? are we snowcaps or are we lotuses? or a mixture between the two? and do we personally choose how much of the one or the other we want to be? i liked to believe that my person was untouchable and that the environment could not leave any trace on my individuality. how naive and wrong i have been! but then again, i do feel somewhat aslant among other locally grown plants. this is probably one of those nature-nurture-like dilemmas, in which both is correct and both is wrong. still, it provides some good exercise for the mind, which could get dulled if not given a shake from time to time.