I am particularly attuned to the fake flowers today, because I have also been wondering about the cultivated flowers hanging from windows and spilling from planters. Both are made by man. Cultivated flowers, with their perfect colors and giant blooms do not exist in nature. If both are manmade, and if the plastic ones are more perfect, what is it about us that prefers the ones that are part nature?
I am wondering all of this, because I have been following flowers all year, a plan of design I have sought for the last 10 years, where each month I travel through a West Coast region during its peak blooms, roughly traveling northward. And I will continue this pattern late into the summer, moving up in elevation and latitude.
There are plastic flowers and there are cultivated flowers, but certainly, the lowest of all flowers must be the wildflower, which is rarely as vibrant in color, and which blooms for such a short time, and is most often quite smallish, and fragile, and in a word, unspectacular. So why is it that I, like so many others, am actually moved more to travel in pursuit of wild, native flowers?
Early the next morning, I wonder about this even more while walking on the Rowena Plateau. In the hour before sunrise, yellow and lavender flowers carpet grasslands for miles, and from here, it looks as though the hill of blooms rolls right into the Columbia River.
After sunrise, the butterflies also rise, and the rufous hummingbirds too, both of which feed on the flowers. There is something about the variety of color in hummingbirds and butterflies that has drawn me to them as well. And again, I have to ask myself – what is it about the color of wild things that we are so drawn to as a species?
I am walking on a path through the flowers, and I am thinking about this aspect of travel philosophy, and I have a feeling that this fact plays into it:
Biological color in both plants and animals exists because animals have eyes.
Think about it this way: the flowering plants, which are the most diverse and dominant plants in the world, evolved to take advantage of the fact that moving animals have eyes. By using all sorts of lures, flowering plants were able to find ways to ensure their survival by getting animals to disperse their seeds and pollen.
Many butterflies and hummingbirds have evolved some of the most amazing colors, and color patterns in the biological world. The amount of brilliant and unusual colors in butterflies is so vast that lepidopterists are still discovering unknown species throughout the world.