Heaven in a Wild Flower
Heavy rains have descended into the dry Karoo in recent months. The desert has been saturated and the ground caressed by the touch of the clouds, a rare tryst in this arid land, where the sky is selfish with gifts of water. The sweet drink served to the body of the Earth has momentarily quenched Her insatiable thirst. The quintessential scent of a saturated Earth now envelops everything in a blissful haze. She feels full and pregnant, Her senses heightened and Her soul lifted with a fertile euphoria. The beautiful body of the Earth seems to have transcended the dry ache of drought and entered into a realm of ecstasy. It is as if the sky has whispered its secrets to Her and all She can now do is rejoice.
The heavy rains have left a blanket of moist fertility stretching across this sentient biosphere, feeding and sustaining a delicate balance of fertile potentiality. The water is a lover that finds its way into Her skin, nestling in Her undulating folds and saturating Her flesh with sweet sustenance. Her hunger for the water seems to have been laying dormant in the multitude of seeds which now come to life. And, as with the uniting of great lovers, this union of rain and Earth unfolds in a celebratory kaleidoscope of liveliness, a surge in the creative pulse of the colours of creation.
After experiencing such abundant rainfall at the cusp of spring, an unimaginable number of flowers have taken to blooming. The beauty is immense. It feels as if the Earth stretches herself open to release every possible potential of Her secret inner beauty. And it is the same feeling inside me. It feels as though I am prying this bodily frame open so that I can fit more of this floral blossoming inside me. There is so much beauty in the wild flowers. They carry the signature of something deeply sacred and holy, a primordial spiritual essence beyond the concentrated light of the sun. And as I witness this majestic unfolding of blooms, all I want is to be more deeply immersed in them, remove all obstacles between myself and their beauty, tear open my chest and place them inside me. It is not enough to glance at the flowers in passing and remark at their prettiness; I want to consume them wholly.
Yes, this springtime bloom of flowers is a visual beacon, a symbolic signifier that draws me into the mystical language of a conversation with this living Earth. This language of the Earth points to that same place inside myself that reflects this beautiful outer scene. It is as though there is a place inside me where I am alive like this blossoming Karoo veld.
We walk a kilometre through the wild open spaces of the Karoo scrub, gently treading along the paths made by wild creatures, meandering through patches of colour and stopping to admire the beauty in the details beneath our feet or to catch the feeling of a particular place. The feeling of this landscape is like an indigenous songline where the whole world is alive and in conversation with us. Our beacon is an impossibly bright patch of sunshine-yellow daisies that have bloomed like a giant oil-painted brush of yellow smeared over the land. Have you ever seen beauty that pulls you open, that stretches your insides and makes you want more? This day is like that. It feels as if there is a veil between my eyes and this beauty and I want to strip it away and be over-exposed to the imprint of this wild canvas of colour. The beauty touches all our senses and then aches inside. The more I look at it, the more I need it. Yes, I want this aching beauty to consume me wholly.
In this field of yellow, mesmerised by the sights, sounds and feelings of being so impossibly alive, there is not a sense of peace and completion but rather a longing, a yearning, a feeling of deep missing. I ask myself how can I be so close to these flowers and yet feel this deep missing? So I lie down inside this dense patch of brightness to meditate on the question buzzing inside me. I immerse my body into the land, surrender my senses to this place with eyes closed and breathe it in, feel the meadow around me, immerse my mind deeper into my heart, which is the only thing big enough to contain this scene of the fertile land. But now there is only more longing inside me. So there I lie inside this patch of unfurling blooms and yet long to be even closer. It is ecstatic and agonising, this pain of being pulled open by the beauty and never being satiated.
This agony takes me beyond my body, beyond mind and into the realm of the spiritual. The aching is too much to bear and so one goes beyond this world, this aching flesh, this frail sense of self and into something bigger than this. I melt into this essence beyond that flower, the state of being that that precedes its form, an essence that rings true in the heart like when you witness a sunrise and hear the dawn chorus of birdsong.
I think you need to be a lover to really take in the beauty of the wilderness. You see the face of God in the body of the Earth. You see Her beauty, Her insatiable attractiveness, Her allure, Her ability to seduce absolutely and you are drawn in, spellbound, in love, in a heartbeat. Only with the eyes of a lover, the appreciation of the lover, do we really see the divine smile of the Earth inside a wild flower. She gives to us endlessly, this love that spills out from inside the Earth, this divine feminine secret mystery that spills out of Her heart and into the world.
Opening my eyes and returning to the present moment, I am here in the middle of what appears to be an ecstatic orgy of buzzing insects drinking the nectar of these flowers. This feels nothing like the pollination described in a biology textbook. It is intensely alive, filled with ecstasy, an intense feeding, drinking, procreating mess. This pulse of life, this surge of procreation, floods the air as the plants thrust their floral bouquets into the sky searching for pollination, fertilisation and the continuation of their kind. The flowers drip with nectar and pollen, saturated in the banquet of sweet things that the birds and insects seek out. It drives the insects into a frenzy. They are entirely consumed in their drinking and eating, rushing about from one flower to another, utterly absorbed in their activity. The nectar of these flowers is irresistible to the insects and birds who become intoxicated in their love for more and more sweetness.
There, look at that yellow daisy with a beetle stuck so far inside you can see only his back legs kicking about. Here, a bee, fully laden with its prize, body covered in the golden dust, legs carrying heavy bags of pollen. Look at that bumblebee: The vibrating wings unlock the pollen from that flower. This buzzing sonication is a secret floral password, the key to a lock, a Kamasutra of pollination. And there: That high-pitch buzz in the midday sun, that almost imperceptible silent ringing of these vast empty spaces of the wilderness, carrying the sounds of banqueting and a longing for fullness.
Now turn your head and witness this audacious orange splash of an aloe in full bloom. One cannot do anything other than be gob-smacked at how potent and phallic and wonderfully erotic this inflorescence of a thousand nectar dripping blooms can be. The whole stem soaked in nectar like a fountain of sweet wine. The birds land in the flower and thrust their beaks deep inside, drinking the sweet syrup of the vermilion orange blossoms. Their beaks, their faces, saturated in pollen, the result of their lively dance on the phallus bloom. One can imagine the saturation of colour, nectar and pollen as a magnificent mating ritual, no, a passionate love-making act between bird and flower. Each beak plunged inside the flower bringing a fertile phallus loaded with ripe pollen that fertilises the waiting ovum. And I wonder whether they are drunkards, lost completely in their intoxicated states with eyes only for the one thing they want more, more, more of. It is the great seduction and they are powerless against Her charms.
I lie here wondering about the flower, thinking that maybe this plant feels it too, the orgasmic ecstasy of having the birds and bees tongues prying out its sweet nectar, knowing that soon it will be impregnated with seed that will fall to the ground and continue this great cycle of life. This is the intimate dance of the plants’ love lives. They are separated from each other, lacking legs to visit their lovers and so they get the insects to do the bidding of their seduction and lovemaking. There is a oneness between flowers, birds and insects in this moment, utterly inseparable, as though they are an extension of the collective will of the flora to procreate. This is the face of God, not some disembodied deity in heaven, but a living, breathing, feeling, creative and passionate Goddess that we call Earth. This is He, this is Her.
In this liminal space I feel the innate creative energies of procreation laid bare in the floral kingdom. I guess I realise that, if one can dismiss the scientific courtesy of botanical nomenclature and imagine the flowers with the eye of the erotic, the eyes of a living oneness, then these flowers become the living, breathing Kamasutra of creation. I start to understand that seeing without witnessing the sentience of our Earth and Her erotic dance of procreation is to miss a vital way of seeing and to erase the feminine mysteries.
And as the day wears on and the flowers open and close, the night reveals its own sweetness. The frenzied hive of activity of the daytime has passed but it has left a sweetness in the air. The insects and birds will rest tonight, safely in their homes provided in an infinite abundance of places inside the folds of the earth. The fire outside crackles, sparks rise like stars being released from creation, floating back up into the sky. And above us there is a planetarium like no other. The air is crisp, clean, there is no light pollution for miles and the stars drift and float and wink in the sky. This work that we witnessed in the flowers today, it has left this whole place spent and yet fresh and vibrant and whole. The fabric of the air held together with mystery, with satisfaction, with the lively potency of the dark black of night. Even here in the blackness, one feels the pulse of the flowers around us, as though all the insects and birds are dreaming of them and filling the night with the scent of their remembrance.
Spiritual Ecologist, passionate about African botanicals & the Earth
Steve Hurt’s writing falls within the paradigm of spiritual ecology which approaches ecology from a spiritual perspective. His writing is influenced by shamanism, sufism and a deep love for the earth. Steve currently lives in South Africa and runs a business that trades in African medicinal plants, a trade that is driven by his wish to preserve the rich heritage of African medicinal knowledge for future generations.