“In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It Goes On.”
Robert Frost

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sweet Autumn Clematis . . . Light and Shadow

The Sweet Autumn Clematis is one of my favorite blooming vines.  Just as the leaves on the trees and shrubs start to show their glowing colors, this gorgeous bloomer steals the show.  Its profuse cloud of heavenly white blossoms and intense perfume attracts the bees for one last meal of nectar before the cold temperatures set in.  I started thinking about how different this clematis is from many of my other large flowering clematis vines.

Well, then one thing led to another --- and if you read this, you will probably find a completely different subject, than what you thought this would be about.

A close up view reveals that this clematis has only four petals and some lovely long stamens in the center of the flower. When you group hundreds of them together they put on a very united and significant display. In the photo above, I noticed how well the dark background set off the white flowers. 

For various reasons, some unknown to us, plants devise different ways to attract pollinators to ensure that their species continue.  To make sure the flowers got proper attention, the plant also came up with a tantalizing fragrance that no one can ignore. This beautiful plant has determined that it is in its best interests to have many small flowers instead of a few large ones. Some might say it has compromised for the benefit of the whole plant and its success.

Plants in their DNA somehow understand the benefits of cooperation, compromise and diversity.  If only more humans understood the same---- (sigh) ---- what a perfect world it would be.

I think it is sometimes the same with individuals. If we are one person standing alone, we may seem weak and inconsequential, but together through cooperation and yes, even compromise, we can be strong and have immense power.

Cooperation and compromise seem to be dirty words in our country these days. This is something I just find hard to understand.

I looked up the word compromise and here is what it says:
1. agreement: a settlement of a dispute in which two or more sides agree to accept less than they originally wanted
2. something accepted rather than wanted: something that somebody accepts because what was wanted is unattainable
3. potential danger or disgrace: exposure to danger or disgrace 

Why does it seem that most of us jump to the third definition before considering the other two? Always looking for the worst scenario or the darkest meaning does not seem to be very productive. However, we always must have the dark with the light.  That is simply how things are. There are lessons to be learned from this and they are not that complicated.  If a plant can somehow comprehend these things, why can't we?

In art, as in life, there are shadows and light.  As in the photo above, if we did not have the contrast of the dark, the flowers would not stand out, but would fade into the background. With life I think the same holds true, if we never had dark moments, all the light moments might seem to fade into the background.

I guess what I am trying to say, is do not despair when life seems dark and gloomy, but rejoice and bask in the light and joyful moments we also receive. The dark makes the light seem brighter.  The reverse also holds true, sometimes until the glaring light of day is shown on something, we don't realize how really dark and disturbing it is.

So what am I saying and are you completely confused?  I am simply setting out some ideas for you to think about.  Things in life are not just black and white or dark and light, they are filled with shadows and variations that make up the whole.  Without the light and the shadow, there is no way to see the whole picture clearly.

We must consider the whole of the people, as the Sweet Autumn Clematis has considered the whole of itself.  What is best for one of us, should also be the best for all of us. We need to try and accept the shadows with the light.


  1. Diane you are becoming really philosophical as your blogging progresses. This post is amazing! You are quite right - not what I was expecting but I think your sentiment is spot on and really food for thought. The clematis photos are beautiful. I am only familiar with the flowers with the bigger petals - these are so dainty and pretty.

    1. HaHa! I will try and reserve philosophy for weekends only! This is one of my favorite plants, maybe because it is the last to bloom before we see the snow!

  2. they are absolutely beautiful. Although I am a bit miffed that plants are blooming in the fall... I don't know if it is common for Clematis to do that, but I have read other bloggers who are posting photos of blooming plants as well.
    I once read that shadows made a person beautiful, these little dark corners that make a person who they are.

    1. Don't be miffed dear! Remember we will be buried in snow in a couple of months while you in Florida luxuriate in the warm sun! I love your last line, so true!

  3. What a beautiful post! And, of course, you are absolutely right.

  4. This is a very beautiful post, Diane. Lots of good thoughts. I never saw or heard of this flower, clematis, prior to blogging. Can you believe it? xo

  5. What a beautiful and profound post, and what better plant to represent what you are writing. That clematis is absolutely astounding! I truly believe that embracing both the light and dark moments of our lives help us to grow as human beings.

  6. Beautiful, insightful post -- I always say we have a lot to learn from Nature!

  7. Dear Diane - I like your thoughts on light and shadow - gives one something to ponder in the quieter moments. Thanks for sharing your insightful words. God Bless!

  8. This was one of the best posts I have read in a long time! I needed to read this right now, it's very relevant to my life.

    Thank you!

  9. Wise words accompanied by beautiful photographs. Thank you for making me slow down and think.

  10. Inspiring post Diane, as usual a visit to your blog makes me feel peaceful and tranquil.


Thank you for leaving a comment! I do read them all and will try to respond if I'm able. Please know that all comments are appreciated, I love to hear your thoughts on my posts! ~ Diane