We measure distance here by road stops.
Safe places to pull over that won’t land you in the river or up the side of a mountain or windshield deep in brush and bracken.
The distance to the nearest town is as far as the spread of some countries, a rich view of isolation made obvious when driving.
You can tell the road stops when you see them.
In the summer months, they’re thick with the flowers whose seeds are carried on tires and in the mud on the bumpers.
The flowers aren’t native –
They come to the places of disturbance –
Frantically grow and seed before the underbrush overtakes them.
With their presence, the road stops become a cacophony of colour, of adventure, of the exotic-
Of unmistakeably alien presences.
Someone’s garden somewhere up the line had asters and they are faithful sentinels of the stops.
They mark the change, the variation in green, in brown that carries the other miles.
They announce the place to rest and also where we have etched a toehold into the land around us.
Asters shove through the native plants, only stymied by the dense thicket under the trees.
The bees upon them sing of change, of shifting lands-
Sing of the rich and uneasy coexistence of the frantic tangle of the forest-
And the careful organization of a long-forgotten garden.
The Darling Buds are brought to you by Victorian flower meanings, a wanton disregard for photographic technique, and the letter N for Nostalgia.
Variety is one of my most constant companions, for good or for ill. For more explorations of variation and borders, implicit and explicit, you can read my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor, here. Its sequel, With Honor Intact, is also available here.