Singularity: Cosmic Seeds

Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Anne’s Lace–Daucus carota, wild carrot–is abundantly common this time of year–in neglected pastures, along county back-road fencerows and highway margins.

This is a sign we are into late summer: That its flat-topped umbels are beginning to cup–going to seed, gathered in tight clusters that protect the embryoes as they mature. Here is nothing more than the familiar cycle of plants producing flowers, flowers making seeds and seeds yielding another generation of flowers.

Cupping my hand under the tiny wafer of a seed from more mature plants nearby, the frame shifts, as so often happens when you reach a certain rate of travel and mind-clutter, at or approaching the speed of an object at rest.
From this impossibly compressed, dry, apparently lifeless mote in my hand has come the intricate order and beauty I see, looking up from underneath–a complex branching within branches of branches with terminal flowers.

CAPTION: The Wild Carrot “seed singularity” of immensely compressed instructions populates the deep space of this pastured planet with tentacled clockwork galaxies. A Big Botanical Bang.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. My front field used to be full of Queen Anne’s Lace, it was lovely. Then I heard that it is a host plant to ticks. Two years ago I started mowing the field when it was in full bloom. Now I have far fewer blooms and far fewer ticks. Maybe coincidental, maybe not.

  2. Beautiful photo and even more amazingly beautiful caption!! Your imagination was showing . . . off the chart!