Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Soul of a Flower

I received the inspiration for this post from a comment one of my favorite blogging ladies -- Tonja at Tonja's Gatherings -- recently made about some of my photos of spring flowers and trees. If you have not had the pleasure of visiting Tonja, I hope you will stop by Gatherings and treat yourself to her delightful sense of humor, ever-inspiring faith, and beautiful, sweet spirit.

Here is the gracious note she wrote about my flower photos:

How you manage to find just that exact spot on the flower that holds it very essence! It's as if you can pick out the soul of the flower! I guess it's not 'soul' in a flower, but I think you get my drift! It was wonderful.

I appreciated Tonja's kind words and they got me to thinking about the fascinating concept of flowers having a "soul." I looked up the definition of soul, and found that it has several meanings that could apply to flowers:

Spirit, life, vitality;

The quality or qualities that
make a thing what it is;

An active or essential part;

And my favorite:
The quality that arouses emotion and sentiment.

Since I've been photographing flowers, I have discovered some of those qualities hidden deep within their petals and centers, which can't be seen by the naked eye. Only through the magic of my camera lens have I been blessed with seeing the actual heart of a flower -- it's pistils and stamen and carpel and all its other parts that "make it what it is." It is always a breathtakingly beautiful sight when my camera focuses on a flower's deepest core, and it never fails to evoke an emotional and/or sentimental response from me.

It may sound strange, or even weird, but I can recall several occasions when I have been overcome by emotion while capturing pictures of flowers. The most notable occasion was during a photo shoot in March of this year at the Old Court House Museum here in Vicksburg. As I walked around the grounds, I spotted this beautiful purple Iris in the distance.

It looked so regal, standing there proud and tall, and I decided to get some close up shots. Boy, was I in for a surprise! You can click on the images, if you'd like to get a closer look inside these flowers.

As I zoomed in with my lens, I noticed that it looked like a little light was shining from deep within the depths of the petals.

And the closer I zoomed, the brighter the light became ...

Until it looked as if there was a candle burning brightly within the center of the Iris -- like a heartbeat.

I'll never forget seeing that image through the lens, and the chill bumps accompanying it.

Another memorable occasion was when I was taking some macro shots of the center of a magnolia blossom. As I clicked away, I watched transfixed as some of the stamen fell away from the carpel, and I was overwhelmed by the sheer delight of being able to capture it as it was happening.

There have been countless other times when God's glory has been revealed to me from the depths of flower petals. While all flowers are beautiful on the outside, I believe that, just as with human beings, it is the "inner glory" found deep within the heart of a flower that makes up its "soul," whether it's a tiny wildflower, or a magnificent magnolia blossom.

I would like to share a few more pictures I've captured of flowers that gave me just a small glimpse into their "hearts and souls."

Like the "purple heart" of this Queen Anne's Lace blossom.

Or the centers of this glorious Hibiscus and the Lotus Blossom below, which aren't hidden from sight ...

The very essence of a Bradford Pear Tree Blossom

The heart of a Morning Glory

And the breathtakingly beautiful
center of a Snapdragon ...

And, last, but not least, one of my favorite most recent magnolias, with its very heart on display for all the world to see ...

I would like to thank Tonja again for giving me the inspiration for this thought-provoking post ... and I would like to thank God for the blessing of His glory that surrounds us ... even in the "souls" of His flowers.


The Quintessential Magpie said...

Janie, I can't get over this post. Thank you for sharing these amazing shots with us. They are truly breathtaking, and I can understand why you were overcome with emotion from shooting that Iris. It did look like a light was shining from inside it.

Seeing that, I can also understand how the Iris became the symbol of the Fleur-de-lis. I read once that Clovis, King of the Franks, was given a lily at his conversion by an angel and that he incorporated it into his symbols at the Frankish king. When I saw the light shining from within, it gave me goosebumps, too. I don't think I will ever look at an Iris the same way again.

The other flowers were all lovely, too, and you know I adore Magnolias. I have seen that same thing and stood in awe. God is AMAZING with His attention to detail.

Thanks for sharing...


Sheila :-)

Deb said...

WOW...what a great post....and your photos are beautiful...I always look forward to seeing the world through your camera lense...have a nice holiday weekend...

Tonja said...

As is usual, I am in awe of your talent. This is such an inspiring post, and I so blessed to have had a tiny part in it.

I do not think 'everything' is revealed to 'everybody'. I believe that God reveals some of the 'special' things in life only to those who can be trusted to truly appreciate them.

Obviously, you are worthy of this trust. And, the sweetest blessing for us is that you desire to share, so we all can 'see it', too.

RachelD said...

Janie, I've been waiting for this post for three days---since the title appeared on my sidebar.

What a lovely, lovely discussion, and what a wonderful gift you have.

And they're ALL flowers. It's just folks who call some of them weeds.

nancygrayce said...

Oh, you do take the most beautiful flower pictures! I especially loved the snapdragon!

Jean said...

I came over here from my friend Tonja's blog.

This post and your amazing pictures reminded me of something a very successful photographer told us back in the 70's when asked how he gets such amazing photographs.

He said, "Anybody can take a picture. But not everyone can SEE a picture."

You obviously have the gift of being able to SEE a picture that is begging to be taken.

Anonymous said...

Janie -- Thanks to you AND to Tonja for the beauty and inspiration shared here. Digital photography has opened a window into so much of God's creation that we can't see with our own eyes! :)