Inconceivable antiquity

These crape myrtle trees brighten my summer walks every year. August 2013

These crape myrtle trees brighten my summer walks every year. August 2013

“How cunningly nature hides every wrinkle of her inconceivable antiquity under roses and violets and morning dew!”Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ah, but Ralph, you say “inconceivable antiquity” like it’s a bad thing!  Some of us would like to think that nature is all the more appealing because of her longevity.  Perhaps the flowers are not meant to be a cunning disguise of age, but rather a joyful, ever-changing celebration of the predictability of the seasons.  After all, many a flowering tree or shrub only grows more lush and productive as the years pass.  And the blooms disappear just long enough to keep things interesting.

A good example would be the lovely crape myrtles that fill our neighborhood and much of the South.  Gorgeous green leaves in the springtime, vibrant blossoms through the hottest months of the summer, and depending on the variety, fall foliage that ranges from bright yellow to flaming red.  They drop their leaves in the winter, but even their skeletal outlines have a stark beauty.  And then, just when we are fed up with cold weather and bare branches, the cycle begins again.

Maybe we are meant to take a cue from nature’s perennial flowering.  Underneath the showy cycles of grandeur lies an antiquity that hints of eternity.  And the repetitive displays offer a freshness and youthful vigor reminding us that beauty, though changing, never really grows old.

This post was first published seven years ago today. As I write this, the crape myrtles are blooming beautifully in both my neighborhoods. How little attention they demand, to return such fabulous delight!

The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Good morning, Julia!
    I love both of those perspectives, the antiquity and the joyous celebration of season!
    Wisdom in antiquity
    Forgiveness in renewal (second chances, third chances and so on)
    This morning, my weekly morning walk friend cancelled for this week, citing among other conflicts the weather, which is currently a Friday advisory.
    Every year at this time, I realize that it’s too late for home repairs that could possibly enable me to sell my house and move somewhere warmer! And I’m too busy “canning.” Today will be marinara sauce. Last week was grape jelly. After the marinara will be plum jam, I expect, plus one lovely plum-cardamom cake!
    It may be cool outside, but the kitchen will be warm!

    • All that canning sounds wonderful. You are truly a polymath, as with so many gifted people in history. Re: too late to possibly enable having the home ready to sell– I totally get that, and for years now, I’ve wondered whether my inability to get things ready has to do with my ambivalence about selling? In my case, the undone obstacles to selling are actually a convenient way to hang onto that which I don’t want to lose. But I’m determined to accept loss, even in those cases (unlike most others in my life) where I have some choice in the matter.

      • Interesting observations on not preparing our homes to sell. While it’s true that saying goodbye to a home is difficult, it may help to consider what we may be saying “hello” to, with that “good-bye.” In my case, it would be a new (possibly newer) home in a probably warmer location.
        This year, losing Minneapolis doesn’t seem all that bad, due to cancellation of the artistic scene.

        • What would you be saying “hello” to, if you were to sell you York home? I am not seeing much impetus, but that’s just my perspective.

          • All kinds of things. I want to let a cottage in the Cotswolds or Oxfordshire or somewhere in England, for about 3-4 months. I’d need to come and go during that time but I want to have a base for exploring the British Isles on their very good train system. I want to have Matt spend more time with me than just weekends– he was with me 24/7 during the first two months of COVID shutdown and we both enjoyed it. I want to have more freedom to work part time or do volunteer work someplace interesting like the Postal Museum in DC or some similar place. I want to travel often, visit friends, and have friends visit me. I want fewer appointments for things like routine maintenance, leaving me more time for books and cinema. Those things are just for starters. I could hatch all kinds of plans, assuming my health stays good and we eventually are able to travel freely again.

            • Oooooooo, those do sound like very appealing opportunities!

        • Oh, I have a long list of incentives to sell, but almost as many reasons NOT to sell. However, getting older is one of the most powerful arguments for minimizing the number of things I have to keep up with! RE: Minneapolis, yes, it’s very sad. I used to think I wanted to come there and stroll down Hennepin Avenue in person and just see it all for myself. I don’t feel that way anymore.

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