Thursday, July 20, 2017

Sweet Williams July 1917

"There is nothing new under the sun," says the proverb. I think
the meaning is that there are just so many truths or laws of life,
and no matter how far we may think we have advanced, we
cannot get beyond those laws. However complex a structure
we build a living, we must come back to those truths, and so
we find we have traveled in a circle."
Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Man of the Place brought me
 a bouquet of wildflowers this morning.
It has been a habit of his for years. 
He never brings me cultivated flowers,
but always the wild blossoms of field and woodland, 
and I think them much more beautiful.

In my bouquet this morning was a purple flag. Do you
remember gathering them down on the flats and in the
creek bottoms when you were a barefoot child?

Wild Purple Flag 

There was one marshy corner of the pasture down by
the creek where the grass grew lush and green:
where the cows loved to feed and could always be found
when it was time to drive them up at night.

All through the tall grass were scattered purple and white
flag blossoms, and I have stood in that peaceful grassland corner,
with the red cow and the spotted cow and the roan,
taking their good-night mouthfuls of the sweet grass,
and watched the sun setting behind the hilltops and loved
the purple flags and the rippling brook and wondered at the
beauty of the world while I wriggled my toes down
into the soft grass.

The wild Sweet Williams in my bouquet brought a far
different picture to my mind. A window had been broken in
the schoolhouse at the country crossroads, and the pieces of glass
lay scattered where they had fallen.

Several little girls going to school for their first term had picked
handfuls of Sweet Williams and were gathered near the window.
Someone discovered that the blossoms could be pulled from
the stem and by, wetting their faces, could be stuck to the
pieces of glass in whatever fashion they were arranged.
They dried on the glass and would stay that way for hours
and, looked at through the glass, were very pretty.

Wild Sweet William

I was one of those little girls, and though I have forgotten
what it was I tried to learn out of a book that summer, I never have
forgotten the beautiful wreaths and stars and other figures we made
on the glass with the Sweet Williams. The delicate fragrance of
their blossoms this morning made me feel like a little girl again.

The little white daises with their hearts of gold grew thickly
along the path where we walked to Sunday school. 
Father and sister and I use to walk
 the two and a half miles every Sunday morning.
The horses had worked hard all the week 
and must rest this one day
and Mother would rather stay at home with baby brother, so,
with Father and sister, Mary I walked to the church through
the beauties of the sunny spring Sundays.
I have forgotten what I was taught on those days also.
I was only a little girl, you know.  But I can still plainly see the
grass and the trees and the path winding ahead, flecked with
sunshine and shadow and the beautiful golden-hearted daisies
scattered all along the way.

Wild Meadow Daisies

Ah well! That was years ago, and there have been 
 many changes since then that it would seem 
such simple things should be forgotten;
but at the long last, I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet,
simple things of life which are the real ones after all.
We heap up around us things that we do not need 
 as the crow makes piles of glittering pebbles.
 We gabble words like parrots
until we lose sense of their meaning;
 we chase after this new idea and that;
we take an old thought and dress it out
 in many words that the thought itself
 is lost in its clothing,
 like a slim woman in a barrel skirt,
and then we exclaim,
 "Lo, the wonderful new thought I have found!"

I believe we would be happier to have a personal revolution
in our individual lives and go back to simpler living and more
direct thinking. It is the simple things of life that make
living worthwhile, the sweet fundamental things such as
love and duty, work and rest, and living close to nature.
There are no hot house blossoms that can compare in
beauty and fragrance with my bouquet of wildflowers.

Wildflower Meadow

"Sweet Williams"
July 1917
By Laura Ingalls Wilder
From the book, "Little House in the Ozarks"
A Laura Ingalls Wilder Sampler
The Rediscovered Writings
Edited by Stephen W. Hines
Guideposts Edition

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