Cultivating a Wildflower Disposition by Judy Grigg Hansen

Yellow-bellied marmots scurried among the rocks and western tanagers played hide-n-seek on the hill above us as my husband and I hiked around Dierkes Lake near Shoshone Falls on an evening in early June. Our real discoveries, however, at this small man-made lake that sits below the towering rock walls of the Snake River Canyon included parsley desert buckwheat, barestem biscuitroot, and hopsage.

In the natural world, audience seems not to matter. Flowers bloom and trees grow leaves regardless of whether anyone is aware of them or not. Why, then, are the ideas of audience and legacy so important to we humans? Why are we not content to merely be? Why, by the way, am I writing this blog? In humans, there is a yearning for audience and for creating a legacy. This may be the whole point of mid-life crises: we suddenly realize that our imagined audience is either shrinking or is never going to materialize; and, at the same time, we realize that we may end up as a yellow bell under a sagebrush blooming in isolation with nothing to leave for posterity.

Maybe in our quest for audience and legacy, we should step back and examine the virtues of having a wildflower disposition. No matter how long or short our lives, we could just be the beautiful persons we were meant to be, not worrying about whether or not anyone else is watching.


About Judy Grigg Hansen
I write poetry and nonfiction, and I am passionate about the people, places, and wildflowers of Idaho and the Northwest.

2 Responses to Cultivating a Wildflower Disposition by Judy Grigg Hansen

  1. Gary Babbel says:

    Those wildflowers are seeking an audience. An audience of pollinators and later an audience of some seed dispersal helpers. I guess that just as selfish humans require an audience to fulfill their destiny wildflowers also can’t go it alone. Perhaps audience is the wrong term. Maybe fellow travelers, fellow citizens, fellow saints, members of the same ecological community, friends, mates – you get the idea.

    p. s. Judy, I love your essay. Keep it up! Gary B

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