Beautiful Residue

So which is more beautiful to look at, the flowers in the vase or the pieces of the flowers as they fall on the table top below them?

All spring, summer and fall I have flowers on the toilet tank in the bathroom.  Because the tank is white and the surface undisturbed, you can see the tiny dots of yellow/orange pollen sprinkled around the base of the vase.

Years ago I made a piece of art from thread and yellow crayon.  I ran the thread through the crayon then tied each individual piece into another thread that I had inserted into the wall vertically making a line about 6 inches long.   I rested the other end of the treads on another thread about 3 feet away, the loose ends bunching together to make a tassel and the whole piece a swag.

it looked something like this

I liked the piece, but what I think of  most is  the markings left from the yellow crayon where the thread touched the wall when I took the piece down.  They were so faint, (like the pollen) the ones made from the thread tied to the left side reminded me of the marks left from  heavily applied mascara  on the skin just beneath the eye.  Except barely visible.   On the “tassel” side, just a smudge of yellow.

And then, there’s always my bucket of scraps.  I know I’ve posted photos of my scraps before, but of course, they are never the same.  I could post a photo of my scrap bucket several times a week and it would always be a new bucket of scraps.

Every time I make vegetable juice, I stare at the leftover pulp and wonder what I could do with it.  Intense,  rich orange, magenta and green (carrots, beats and spinach).  Last week at  Gardenworks I watched Nicole carry out a clear plastic bag of wildly colorful dead flower buds.  They were for the compost, but I thought there must be something else to be done with them.

Beautiful residue.  I wonder if the residue ever becomes more important than the place it came from.

14 thoughts on “Beautiful Residue

  1. In the case of compost, the beautiful residue BECOMES the place it came from, important into perpetuity. But I know what you mean. Last winter I planted a cover crop of white clover specifically to turn it over into the soil for nitrogen. But when spring came and the clover flowered, I couldn’t bring myself to uproot it because it’s visited every day by a huge number of bees. Whoever has the hive closest to me is rewarded with some great clover honey!!

  2. Maria, I’ve been thinking about your post on what is left afterwards. Residue. Perhaps this is a hint of the big question: What is left of us and our lives, when our bodies die? What did our existence on this good earth mean? At the very least, noticing residue means that you are mindful and paying attention to this life.

    1. Ah, I hadn’t consciously taken it that far Hazel. I remember reading a short story (don’t remember the name or author now) where someone said the only thing left of us when we die is our character. It always rung true for me.

  3. I have never paused to look at the fallen blossoms on my table, just swept them away. This photogragh is so unique, strangely beautiful.

  4. The left over pulp always went out to the pigs, cows or chickens on our farm.

    If you have a garden or new trees you are planting, mix the pulp into your soil.

    Our left over sewing materials were made into rugs. (use big wooden crochet hooks)

    All flowers were returned to the soil when spent and mixed into the soil.

    In 17 years of farming everything was recycled in one way or another.

    The ideas and useful ways to reuse are endless.

  5. I won’t ever just brush fallen blossoms away again without looking at them. Thanks for the reminder to see the beauty in residue, a revalation. How much beauty we miss right in front of us when we’re not paying attention.

  6. I was reading everyone’s wonderful comments on this post and I just had to add another one. Today, I made Italian sauce from my garden produce, and for the first time I really noticed how amazing the red, orange, yellow tomatoes appeared with the red and green peppers, the pale garlic and the texture of the basil. I enjoyed the whole process of making the sauce so much more. And I laughed out loud “I’m learning something from the way Maria sees every colorful detail in her world!”

  7. I see vinca, daylilly, an cosmos? The compost heap is free pickins for the flock an herd here. either way it ends up in the pile. First place they check when out roaming. Maybe second, have 2, that way they always have fresh gleenings!

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