Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Lovely Afternoon Plea for Help

So the past several days, as I've driven round the lovely countryside of north-central Indiana, I've noticed some beautiful purple flowers either off to the side of the road or on the edges of cultivated fields. While a lot of wildflowers seem to be a little bit drab until you get up close and realize just how amazing they are, these ones are brilliant and vibrant even from a distance. The problem is, I have no idea what they are.

So today as I was driving home from the institute after a lovely morning at the temple, I decided that I needed to know what they were. The problem is, like I said, most of the time I see these flowers off the side of the highway, and a lot of times the highways 'round these parts don't have convenient shoulders. Also, after driving down to Carmel and back I wasn't all that keen on going for a long drive out into the country. So I decided that my best bet was to go to my favorite cemetery, park back in the corner, and explore my way through the wild until I found what I was looking for.

So I did.

First a word about my favorite cemetery:

St Mary's Cemetery
It's my favorite not so much because it's particularly outstanding in any particular way, but rather because it just seems like it's just what a cemetery should be in all the normal, lovely ways. Namely:

  • It has lots of really big trees
  • It's away from the crowds and the bustle, so it's always quiet and peaceful
  • It's close enough to my apartment that I can ride my bike to it
  • It has a lot of winding roads/paths that are fun to ride my bike around on
  • It has a nice mix of old and newer stones
  • It's big enough that I don't get bored
  • It's close-but-not-too-close to a set of train tracks. And I love the sound of trains
So, like I said, I drove back to the corner of the cemetery, parked my car, and wandered back into the trees.

As I stepped into the knee-high grass that marked the edge of the wild, the thought occurred to me that I was putting myself in a prime position to be snakemurdered. I took this as a sign that I was going about things the right way. (Jordan understands.) Almost immediately I found myself on what appeared to be a game trail that turned into something of a tunnel under and among rows of honeysuckle bushes:

While that picture may not be much to look at, let me tell you that it smelled like heaven will surely smell. I went weak at the knees just being there. (My sister Melanie reminded me that heaven will also likely smell of lilac bushes because of their associations with our Grandparents Anderson and Turner. I heartily agree with that sentiment.)

After a blissful trek through the honeysuckles the wood opened up into a clearing of sorts. I felt good about my chances of finding my quarry, because these purple flowers had always been seen (by me) in open spots of land. So I began walking along through the grass, keeping an eye out for any hints of color. As I came around a bend, I saw off in the distance next to the woods a spray of purple against the green of the grass and trees. Unable to contain myself, I set off high-step running through the grass. I paused just a few paces from the stand of flowers and took a picture of what the flowers usually look like from the road:

As I got closer, I was happy to find that they were just as if nor more lovely up close as they had been driving past at 50 mph. 

At this point you're probably asking yourself, "Hey, I thought Sam was asking for help. So far he's just off rhapsodizing about cemeteries and flowers again. What gives?" Well, let me tell you what it is that is givin.

Unfortunately, while I certainly found these flowers to be lovely, I just as certainly found that I had overestimated my powers of identification. I had hoped that upon close inspection I would immediately know what they were. But I didn't. I have to admit that I was kinda disappointed in myself, but by that same token I figured that if I didn't know, surely the internet would. She'd never let me down before, after all. But I realized that googling "purple wildflowers Indiana" was a pretty fruitless endeavor, since there are many, many flowers which answer to that classification.

So now I turn to you. If you are reading this, please imagine that I am sitting next to you with a pleading look in my eye hoping that maybe, just maybe, you'll be able to help me identify this enigmatic source of joy in my life. As you consider my plea, you feel a moment's compassion and want to help in any way you can.

Now, focus on that desire to help your good friend, Samuel James Dunn. And as you're feeling that, take a look at these other photos that provide a better look at the flowers in question from various angles:

A closer look at the blossoms

The whole plant, isolated from the bunch
Each blossom from edge to edge was probably about the size of a nickel.

My dear friends, what is this flower. While the knowledge I seek is probably not earth-shatteringly important, I crave it all same. Please help.

(And now I very anticipate being told what that it is the commonest of common flowers and I should feel like an idiot for not knowing it straight-away. But I don't care. I'm willing to be made a fool if it means I can know what this is.)

1 comment:

  1. Conferred with a friend; pretty sure it's some sort of Dames Rocket (hesperis matronalis).