I could sit or stand, or sit and stand, below, above, or right inside this bounty of blue-violet rolling down and down and down to where the land got flat before it went up to meet the river. From the riverbank some 20 yards away, the hill looked as if a king had left his carpet there after some Alice-in-Wonderland picnic on the slant.
But the far view could not contain me. Where flowers are concerned I am a micro viewer. Up close wild violets are so individual, so delicate, yet so grand. The deep blue petals, tiny true, seem to command attention as they hold their heads out from their airy, liquid bending stems. Footfalls don’t concern them and rarely cause them harm, at least not the kind of harm that others might see. They know that life means sometimes you stretch to reach the sun, and sometimes you bend under the weight and power of the rain.
I was small, so small my hands were chubby, when I saw them for the first time ever. I was ankle deep in the luxury of purple. It seems I was too young to have many word-thoughts in my head, but my heart was filled with wonder at the color. I touched one carefully, so as not to hurt it. I wished that they could stay forever so that I could just observe them. It was the first time I felt that nature had made something just for me.
Before I left I picked six or seven of the tiny flowers and marveled at how small they were in my little hand. I hadn’t learned the word fragile then but in that look, I knew the meaning of it. I carried those few flowers home and gave them to my mother. I thought that she should have the most beautiful things on Earth.
That must have been the day I chose wild violets as my favorite flower. I don’t remember thinking that. I remember thinking that I wished that I could be one.
In some ways I think I am.
—me strauss Letting me be