Sunday, May 31, 2009
I am thinking about power and dominance and the forces that stabilize or undermine them. My irises came in this year with a bold and majestic presence. I had divided one plant into several last year and that proved just the measure to grow the next season's spectacular blooms.
But these irises have a beauty and glory that is kind of frightening. They seem to possess a certain arrogance with their steel-like stems and their authoritative blooms. I might be insane to suggest this, but was I detecting a little contempt emanating from this flower? Was he looking down on all the other plants, smirking at the fading daffodils, sneering at the nearby poppy that couldn't bloom because she wasn't planted where enough sun would draw out her lovely skirt?
Was this iris a narcissist, reveling in how he had shot up in short order, taller than all the other early spring plants, and how with ease, he had unfurled his petals as if his dominance was assured? (Do I need to point out that this bloom is labeled with a male pronoun?)
From almost any angle on my street you could see my irises standing like soldiers at attention in my front yard. At my fence, three contingents of purple stood guard along its lengths.
And then it started to rain. At first it wasn't too forceful, the water coming down. It was a weaker force, indeed, but a force to be reckoned with. Constant, resolute, assured in its purpose--a deep, drenching rain.
Power shifts. A weaker force undermines a dominant force. A dominant force, propped up on false notions of absolute power and authority, declines over time. It is the natural order of things. For a time, dominance is sustained. The iris. Regal and self-assured. Arrogant. Hurtful. Ominous. Dominating and domineering. And then slow and steady, a trickle becomes a stream. The rain comes down, day and night. The sturdy bloom collapses, the stem weakens. The mighty iris falls.