Saturday, May 13, 2017

Columbine ...

These photos of columbine blooming in the museum garden date from about 7 yesterday morning, not long after I'd let an electrician into the Stephens House so that he could finish the last task involved in a rewiring project.

The orange variety is similar to those native to Iowa that still grow wild; the pink, an elaborate hybrid.

Neither resembles, exactly, the Rocky Mountain Columbine, which is blue and the Colorado state flower.

It wasn't until I got home and Googled "columbine," looking for sources of the name, however, that it occurred to me that this is another of those words that have been hijacked by tragedy.

Everyone's favorite search engine came up with 13.7 million mentions of "columbine," commencing with page after page of references to Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado, and the slaughter that occurred there during April of 1999. It was necessary to type in "flower," too, to get where I wanted to go.

You may remember that. Two senior high school students armed with a semi-automatic handgun, two sawed-off shotguns and a 9 mm carbine slaughtered 12 students and one teacher before killing themselves.

It would be interesting to ask a sample of 20-year-olds and younger what occurs to them first when they see or hear the word "columbine" without further elaboration.

Forgetting Columbine, Colorado, and all of the implications of that tragedy would be a grave mistake.

But it doesn't hurt to remember, too, that Columbine derives from the Latin, Columba, or dove; so-called because when viewed from the base of the blossom a resemblance to doves perched in a circle was perceived.

And doves generally are looked upon as a symbol of peace and hope.

No comments: