Planting A Concept- Look, See, Pray

Playing around with photo software again… My entry for the Tate Modern Gallery: “Perfect in Purple.”

Dreamlike shapes and vivid colour conceal as much as they reveal- would you know this to be a clematis flower? It is, if you like, the abstract concept of clematis; reality altered to grab the attention of the onlooker. Without being blindingly obvious, this is the essence of what a flower is about. Colours to attract pollinators, and a carefully constructed mechanism to deliver the pollen to the bees so they can take it onwards. Is the clematis there to be beautiful? Not really, it exists to reproduce itself. Beauty is in the human mind.

Such a purposeful life. Without reproduction, plants would eventually disappear. Without beauty, the human spirit would dessicate and become sour.

Loving and appreciating beauty makes life worthwhile. Today my head and neck have a soreness and a rich red sunburn colour from working outside. Helping fix fence panels and shovelling earth has engaged me in a good days’ work- and caused excitement because I can at last plant up the last border in the garden as I want it to be. Up to today, this border has been an abstract idea waiting to find expression. Tomorrow- weather permitting- the plants are moving in! Lily-of-the-valley, a fern, hellebores, a climbing jasmine, astrantias, and some alchemilla. Two roses are on order… I must remember to leave room…

I’ve come to believe that God uses the “natural” world to plant the concept of a Creator in our minds. Not just one green, but dozens. Purples and blues, yellows and reds; a glorious feast for the senses. God has surely designed the world to suggest there is more to life than blind chance, random interactions of chemical compounds, and numbingly boring repetition.

God’s creativity is part of our essential make-up. We carry that same desire to explore and decorate, to change and grow, to reach beyond the obvious. Ecclesiastes 3:11 states God has “set eternity in the human heart.” In every human soul is a God-given awareness that there is “something more” than this transient world. With that awareness of eternity comes a hope that we can one day find a meaning in life, an endless longing for what is greater than the reality we experience so far. Creation in all its variety is planting a concept, the seeds of new life that carry the signature of the Artist of the Universe.

I could have posted a straightforward picture of a clematis or camellia, a rose or a daisy. But I wanted to make you look twice- and think. Conceptual art, they call it. Enjoy!


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