Wildflowers Don't Belong in Jars


When I was a child living in a wild place I picked my mom a beautiful bouquet of wild flowers. There were Indian Paintbrush, tiny yellow flowers and Woodland Violets among others and I put them in a jelly jar with water, but they did not keep their beauty. They grew sad. Lonely. By end of day they had lost their petals, their beauty and their life.


I was greatly saddened by their passing and told my mom I was sorry, not because they died, but because wild things don’t belong in jars. These are the words I heard though I do not know who said them but I repeated them to her and she agreed pointing out how they were much happier they seemed to be living where they were in the wild rather than with us.


When I was driving across country during my days of hawking my watercolors at various expos, I met other wildlife artist and I realized most had a ‘pet’ at home which consisted of some wild animal (Otter, Bobcat, and Raven) that had been abandoned as a baby or found in the wild. It was something that always bothered me and left me confused. I was raised in the woods, spent the majority of life in the company of trees and loons and wild things and I was perplexed that all these people could find so many abandoned animals when I could not.  And at one point in my career I really truly tried to find abandoned animals because I foolishly thought I was missing out on some fundamental prerequisite of being a wildlife artist by not having some wild thing hanging about my home. I wanted to be like everyone else in that community. But quietly those words echoed in my head, ‘Wild flowers don’t belong in jars’.


Now, I make it a point not to touch a wild animal unless it is required, because every time we touch one, we steal a little of the wildness from them and it is not ours to claim. The crows I feed in my yard would eat from my hand and there is an excitement there that I would have I wild thing land in my hand, but that would benefit me and not them. It is merely my ego wanting to claim a bit of power, a bit of notoriety, nothing more.


 As Human Beings, we claim so many things that are not ours. We try to possess animals, people and land when in fact these are all individual things with a place in the world of which we are only part. We hold a piece of paper that entitles us to possession when in fact they are not ours to claim.


Wildflowers do not belong in jars. Wild things do not belong in boxes and cages and fences. They do not need to be possessions that belong to us, but for us to recognize that we are only a part of The One and not the only one.