Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly?

In 1966, there was a movie starring Clint Eastwood called The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Of course, Clint played the part of "the good" guy, with Lee Van Cleef playing "the bad" guy, and Eli Wallach portraying "the ugly" guy.

For some reason, that movie title came to mind the other day when I was taking pictures, and it occurred to me that the adjectives "good, bad, and ugly" can also relate to Nature. But then, again, perhaps it's just a matter of how we perceive things.

For instance, I'm sure we all think of pretty flowers and butterflies as being "GOOD things."

And I'm sure we would all agree that this is a "BAD" plant:

[Photo borrowed from the Internet; taken by David Floyd]

Yes, that's Poison Ivy. Notice that it has three leaves. Until I saw that photo, I thought I had some great pictures of poison ivy, but upon doing some research for this post, I discovered that I have some great pictures of Virginia Creeper instead.

Notice that it has five leaves, except for the new growth ...

I'm glad to know that that's not poison ivy, because it's in a flower bed on the side of our house. Just looking at that vine when I took the pictures (thinking it was poison ivy), made me shudder to imagine what suffering one drop of oil from those pretty little leaf buds could cause someone who is allergic to poison ivy (like me). Remember: "Leaves of three, let it be!"

Now that I've covered "The Good" and "The Bad," that brings us to "The Ugly."

This is the time of year when wildflowers start springing up all along the roadsides, and what a lovely sight they are to behold. However, while traveling on the Natchez Trace a couple of days ago, I noticed patches of Thistle growing amongst the clover and pretty yellow wildflowers.

I couldn't resist stopping to get a closer look at them through my camera lens, and I was so glad I did.

I know you're probably thinking that thistle is, indeed, ugly, and has no redeeming qualities ... but let's take a closer look.

Still think it's ugly? Look a little closer.

The core of the thistle reminds me of a birdcage surrounding and protecting the seed pod (isn't God an awesome Creator!)

I have to admit that at first glance, the thistle is certainly not what you'd call pretty, and even seems to detract from the beauty of the other wildflowers. But, after seeing it up close, I found it to be beautiful, too ... in its own prickly way.

If there's one thing I learned from writing this post (other than Virginia Creeper is not poison ivy), it's that beauty is, indeed, in the eye of the beholder ... and, just like with people and books, sometimes you can't "judge a plant by its cover." No matter how "ugly" a plant may appear to be on the outside, they all have an inner beauty waiting to be discovered ... you just have to look for it.


bj said...

Hi, Janie..thanks so so much for stopping by.
Hope everything is good in your world.

These photos are all so amazing, as usual. You make even the thistle look beautiful. :)
And, thanks for the good wishes for our anniversary.
xo bj

Merisi said...

What a wonderful Spring excursion that was,
thank you from the bottom of my heart!
I love your close-ups, I wished I could figure out how you manage to capture your subjects so well. I am truly impressed by your eye and skills.


RachelD said...

Thistles!!! At last someone appreciates this wonderful flower! I've loved them all my life---probably my Scottish roots with a yearning for that craggy soil and those persistent plants.

I've never changed my title photo, for that thistle picture says so much---the entire life-span of any plant.

But I tell you, I DO love that wisteria; I miss it and crepe myrtle most of anything in my Southern garden.

And later in the Summer, you can go back and capture the tiny perfect flowers on the poison ivy---perhaps the blooms are an offering of beautiful to make up for some of the bad.

Tonja said...

It all depends on the eyes that are looking...and if those eyes are willing to see the beauty amoung ugly and bad!

Great post!

MeenyMoe said...

Janie, I love the dogwood blossom picture! So beautiful! I asked you a few days ago if you might know what a certain plant was that is blooming. I was impatient and went to our local nursery. Turns out it's called a Bettye Magnolia.

Stacey said...

I was about to tell you that we have Virginia Creeper growing all on our fence. However, we replaced that fence last week. I have no doubt it will find it's way right back up's kind of aggressive but pretty. It turns great colors in the fall and I don't mind it being there.

Marjorie (Molly) Smith said...

I like your way of thinking, I feel if you look deep enough you can find beauty in anything you see.
The Thistle is very lovely if you look close and deep. When I see something like that, that most folks think is ugly and useless I remember the little saying "GOD DON'T MAKE NO JUNK"
Thanks for showing us this side of them.

Deb said...

great photos....I love wild flowers...

Lady Katherine said...

Janie, I came to get your email address, I so glad I did. I been off blogging still recovering from my surgery. I started a Tea Time Tuesday and it kept me so busy, as I still tire easily. I love the pink dogwood, I never seen one up close. I wish I had one! I have some of the white and hoping it might root for me. Going to give it a good try. lol I found a thistle in my flower bed today. Now after seeing this, I going to let it stay! Thank you for reminding me of God's creations can be so lovely. I have thought I had some poison ivy growing on my fence and tried to kill it, the last few years. I might need to take a closer look and make sure it not leaves of three, but I think it is. It would be so nice if it was the Virgina Creeper! Have fun at the coast! I sure want a get away! Soon! Oh, I writing a post that will be up tomorrow as the next Mississippi Blogger's luncheon will be held in Natchez. So come read about it! I wish I would come to your blog everyday! I love looking around MS when I stuck here at home. lol