Monday, July 27, 2009


Perception is a funny thing. This morning I came across this purple bow, sitting amongst some vines and thought how pretty and unexpected it looked. I wondered how it got there and where it came from. It was just a little fun surprise along the edge of the woods.

And then it occurred to me that if the bow had been, say, a beer bottle instead, my reaction to it would have been much different. I would likely have grumbled angrily about how rude and inconsiderate some people can be, about how they had no respect for the woods. That imaginary beer bottle would have set my entire day off on the wrong foot.

And yet, both the bow and a beer bottle are very much out of place along the woods edge. But somehow, the bow seems like less of an intrusion, less an act of mindless littering. But now, thinking about it, I’m not so sure that’s really the case.

Oh, I could argue that a bow will blow away or decompose while a beer bottle is "forever," but the reality is, there’s not that much difference between them, is there? Neither belongs here in this spot. The biggest difference is that one is prettier than the other. And what does that say about me that something pretty seems less rude or less out of place than something that’s not so pretty. I’m going to have to think on that one for a while.


sjbdmc2 said...

I often have similar thoughts about invasive species. I know most honeysuckles are not native, but I still enjoy their flowering...the appearance and especially the scent. But, I despise other species like Tree of Heaven, Oriental Bittersweet, and Mile-a-Minute. Beauty has its effects.

Wanda said...

Maybe it's because a bow is associated with a gift and happiness...while a beer can has a negative aspect to it to start, especially one that has been tossed.

Cathy said...

or it could be a reminder to not take things so seriously. Sometimes random thing are suppose to put a smile on your face.

Carolyn H said...

sjbdmc2: some of the invasive species are difficult to tell from the native species. Something like bittersweet can be told from the native species, though I think honeysuckle is more difficult.

Wanda: For me, I think it's simpler than that--a purple bow is just prettier than a beer bottle.

Cathy: Maybe that's it! A purple bow brings a smile, when a beer bottle doesn't.

Carolyn H.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Maybe beauty in and of itself is the answer. Not all native wildflowers are beautiful, and not all beautiful wildflowers are natives.

Both bow and beer can are out of place; so is a tumbledown old barn, for that matter. But sometimes we need to just enjoy the emotion and ignore the psychological baggage. A ribbon beside the road made you feel good or smile…go with that.