Flowers | porchlight - Indiana Public Media

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A. Wiegand's Sons Co., longtime florists in downtown Indianapolis

When it comes to the process of reversing compulsive and damaging behavior by an individual, nations, or planets, the journey of a thousand miles does indeed begin with one step and the future of however long we’ve got left begins with one day. Just one day not doing whatever had been done in the past that you just imagined was harmless to others, made you feel superior for a moment, or convinced you that you alone had the solution to a shared problem.

Until that one step is taken in the opposite direction and that one day is spent not choosing what continues to create the problem – change that’s so desperately needed will remain elusive.

Despite decades of dire warnings and convincing data on the cumulative damage we have done to the natural world, every single day 6,000 acres of open land are being lost to development. That’s just in America. Not including the Amazon rainforest, not including the outskirts of the world’s sprawling cities, but still including the presence of one three car garage.

Many years ago, the grandfather of a friend of mine built a modest brick home on the banks of a lake up in Minnesota. As time went on, more lakeside development, escalating land prices, which highlighted the incongruity not only of a modest brick home but also the fact that this one had no garage. What it did have were mature, beautiful lilac bushes that bloomed every year and scented the early summer air.

So you can probably do the math here more easily than multiplying by 6,000. Three cars, one garage, and so with a brand new owner, no lilac bushes. Now I’m not calling planted lilac bushes wilderness. The modest brick home preceded the lilacs and probably cost some mature trees all by itself. We desperately need more lands on earth where the only sign of human presence is to ensure that there’s no sign of human presence.

So when’s the last time a three car garage transitioned into lilac bushes or a habitable brick house was demolished and became a stand of trees? True: cultivated flowers are not wilderness anymore than chickens are wildlife. But their presence on earth reveals kindness in the human touch. Steps taken, days spent moving in another direction. As a planet, we will not replace the natural world once it’s gone. As individuals, we can only act as if we would never want that to happen. 


For The Roses, Joni Mitchell, For The Roses

Love Is A Rose, Neil Young, Homegrown

Misty Roses, Tim Hardin, Verve Recordings

American Beauty Rose, Frank Sinatra, Come Swing With Me

Red Rose (Blue Side Of Town), George Morgan, Singles

Sugar Magnolia, Grateful Dead, American Beauty

Marigold, Nirvana, Demo

Lonely Little Petunia, Imogen Heap, Six Feet Under

Blossom, James Taylor, Fire And Rain

Blue Gardenia, Dinah Washington, I Want To Be Loved

Mourning Glory, Nilsson, Harry

Where Have All The Flowers Gone, Johnny Rivers, Greatest