Sunday, August 30, 2015

End of Summer Wildflowers

Bright orange butterfly milkweed 

End of Summer Wildflowers 

Dana & Kenny Koogler

Saturday August 29, 2015

 I can remember being a child and hating to see Summer draw to a close. I did not look 
forward to going back to school, the end of swimming weather, or the shorter days.   I maintained
that even as a parent for a long time.  I liked having my kids out of school and having them with me
more.  I liked the longer days and most things about Summer.  I am not sure exactly when I 
grew to really love this time of year, but I know it was after I moved to Tennessee.   I call it
the Season of Purple and Gold.  It is to me a season of its own. It is not quite Summer, yet not
quite Fall either.  It is the season of the last of things and has a color scheme all its own.  
I enjoy it every year.   

   I think part of what makes anything sweeter is knowing its the last of something. 
The last piece of chicken on the plate or the last slice of watermelon is always going to taste better
than the rest.   I look at these days.. this last month from the end of August through the 
end of September the same way. It is the last of the swimming. The last of the long days.
The last of the butterflies for the year.  The last of the deep green leaves on the trees.  The last of the Summer wildflowers.   

      Everyone in the bright and sunny south welcomes this time of year in some way.
It brings with it cooler days. Big, bright blue skies with soft breezes.  The leaves to turn that pale
chartreuse color and dropinto the river.   The fields and roadsides fill with tall spires of deep purple New York ironweed and mustard colored goldenrod wands, sunflowers, pink thistle blooms, 
pink and white gaura.   Jewelweed of orange and yellow hang on.   It is a beautiful time of year it is own way.   The butterflies feast upon late Summer flowers and prepare to either lay eggs and die or migrate South. It has its own smell too of fish, river water, sweet dried grass and hay, 
and decaying leaves.  

        I went into the Cherokee National Forest this past Saturday with Kenny to visit a special place.
I did not want to go alone.   I found what I had looked for so long. Monkey faced orchids.
I also found a lot of other beautiful wildflowers.  It was a pretty day and the end of a long hunt.
I felt grateful to finally see them, but the experience was tainted by a sadness I don't want to write about.   I will suffice it to say that in opening up and allowing myself to be vulnerable and accept help... I have also gotten hurt.  It may or may not have been intentional.  It was a learning experience.
It didn't do anything to cause me to lose my belief that many kinds of "help" have a hook in them.

         I can feel my body healing and getting stronger from past illness and deficits.
That is a good thing.  I stood in the forest and a thought crossed my mind.   I wondered if as I 
heal I will lose the synesthesia completely?  I felt a pang of sadness for the end of things.
I hope that God will let me keep green.  I hope that if lose the synesthesia for all the other colors...
I will retain the ability to smell and taste green.  Sounds crazy, but that is how I feel.

      This time of year is an end to things that are fading and tired.  It just reminds me to savor it.
Stay in the moment.  Keep my eyes forward and look to better times ahead.

 Purple lobelia
Bright red cardinal flowers in the forest


Monkey Faced Orchid. past peak for the season, but found a few still blooming.

View out over McMinn County


  1. Beautiful pictures! I missed this post somehow. I am such an old man LOL!

    1. You an old man!? Never that. Thanks for the kind remark.


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