I never understood yarrow’s appeal. A frequent staple in perennial gardens, it’s a lingering weed in my yard, one left behind from the previous homeowners. It still creeps along in the grass seemingly impossible to kill. And the scruffy foliage and tiny flowers didn’t appeal to me. Just blah. I thought it was ugly.
Sometimes people feel that way too if I’m honest. Too loud. Too brash. Too quiet. Too intimidating. Too judgmental. Too whatever.
I get self-protective. I get scared, and I reduce people to a simple (and well, unflattering) narrative. All this because I’m afraid somebody won’t like me.
Here’s what I like about nature photography: the opportunity to linger with things I’d otherwise ignore. Ordinary things become beautiful when I vary my visual perspectives. The mundane becomes sacred.
Changing my perspective and looking at these ‘Strawberry Seduction’ yarrow flowers through a telephoto lens, I discovered yarrow’s charm and found something to praise. The brilliant clusters of tiny flowers form cheerful splotches of color, particularly in parts of the growing season where the other plants have stopped blooming or have yet to bloom. It’s a hardy, resilient plant. Downright stubborn. Maybe plucky is the more flattering term for this? They’re spunky little things.
I stopped wanting yarrow to be something it is not. I no longer wished it to look like the bigger blooms of the peonies, coneflowers and lilies. When I stopped judging yarrow on the basis of plants I like better, I discovered yarrow’s charm.
And, this is true for people too. When I stop wanting people to be like me or the people I’m normally most comfortable with, I find freedom to welcome them as they are. It’s not immediate. It’s not perfect. Relationships are awkward and filled with growing pains.
But, when I become curious about someone’s story, he moves from threat to kin. When she shares part of her life, she moves from scary stranger to kindred spirit.
Like discovering the charm of yarrow, it all begins with a little curiosity and a little time.