Lavender, Japanese water iris, and one little worker bee

At the base of the deck stairs there are two large terra cotta pots--one on each side. In each pot is a single massive globe of lavender. The pots sit on the ground so each of the lavender bushes have most assuredly sent tap roots down through their respective drainage holes by now and firmly rooted themselves where they sit. Winter frosts are not severe enough to kill their foliage, so they are growing year round. Sometimes in the winter they are the only thing blooming in the garden.

If I sit at the base of the stairs (which I often do), I can sit and watch a plethora of activity in either of the lavender plants. Bees, butterflies, flies, wasps and even hummingbirds come to sip the nectar from the tiny lavender blossoms.

The other morning, I was sitting on the lowest stair with my camera. On schedule, the tall grasses that I've let grow tall (probably too tall) have changed from a spring green to a pale golden blonde color. That means it's summer. The color of the lavender blooms against the grass in the background looked so magical to me in the clear sunshine. I wanted to see if I could capture that magic.

Every once in a while I'd see if I could catch a bee on one of the blossoms, but they darted from one blossom to the other so fast I couldn't focus quickly enough. So I gave up. I was content capturing the lavender.

Before I went inside I walked across the path to take a couple of shots of the new Japanese water iris bloom that had emerged deep dark and regal in its purple majesty.

It wasn't until today when I sat down to post-process my shots that I discovered that I had captured a perfectly in focus shot of bee completely by accident. Just one shot. That's all. It only takes just one. I had no idea that I had gotten that shot when I took it. It was what I call "photographic serendipity"--a fleeting magical moment that I just happened to capture with my camera.

As I look at the three shots in this post, I am struck by some observations...

The Japanese water iris is a showy flower that grabs attention before anything else. It stands in a proud pose as if it wants to be photographed. I could see it from the other side of the garden. I was drawn in by it. Most flower photographers would immediately gravitate toward it with their cameras and shoot away.

Then there's the delicate, humble and understated lavender. Although one stalk is lovely, the real beauty happens when the stalks are all together. En masse the purple stalks create a lovely show against the straw background.

But, to me, the most engaging photograph of the three is the one with the solitary bee flying away from the camera. One little bee. She's not fancy or showy. She's just a little worker bee. But her presence in the composition makes it magical.

In this world there people who are Japanese water irises. They are people that draw your attention immediately because of their sheer beauty. They are few and far between.

In this world there are many more people who are lavender. They are humble and understated. The trials of life are all around them but winter's trials don't take them down. They just keep going. Alone they may not have a great impact--at first glance. But when these wonderful individuals come together they can create amazing beauty--wonderful beautiful acts of kindness, charity, and compassion that can move mountains.

And, also in this world, there are people who are the plain worker bees. They are small. They go about their work with determination and often without accolades or recognition. But... one little worker bee can make a difference. One little worker can change the overall picture without even knowing it. One little worker bee can create magic.

This is dedicated to all the "lavender people" and "little worker bee people" right now in Oklahoma.

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  1. Beautiful post and shots. That first one is amazing.

  2. The first shot is so full of forward movement it catches our attention...and then there are the words..

    Sage reflections on life Cindy. Beautifully written, and so true.

    Time spent in your garden....


  3. I love your insights. And, you've gotta know I Love the worker bee! Personally, I've never been one who has been attracted to the Iris types. Too much drama for my taste, typically.


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