The catalpas are blooming now, so I stopped last evening near Carpenters Hall to take a closer look at blossoms on the stately --- and very old --- tree that continues to flourish not far from the front door.
Carpenter's Hall stands on the site of Chariton's African Methodist Episcopal Church, flourishing at the turn of the 20th century, so it may well be that this giant --- then a mere slip --- once greeted worshippers there.
Then, on to the museum garden to admire ...
... allium globes ...
... Siberian iris in white ...
... and deep purple.
Thinking about what to do with the images, I got up this morning to read The Register --- and a front page story reporting that three additional family members had been charged in the May 12 death in Perry of 16-year-old Sabrina Ray.
Her adoptive parents, Marc and Misty Ray, operators of a Perry day-care who had adopted Sabrina and two other girls out of Iowa's foster care system, already had been charged with systematically torturing and starving their children --- until Sabrina died. Now charges have been filed, too, against an adoptive brother, her adoptive grandmother and an adoptive cousin.
Last October, another 16-year-old, Natalie Finn of West Des Moines, died under comparable circumstances.
Meanwhile, our departing governor --- Terry Branstad --- continued to systematically gut the Department of Human Services in order to save money (agency director Charles Palmer also announced his "retirement" this week).
And our Republican-controlled state legislature has been congratulating itself for defunding Planned Parenthood, a move that forced closure of four clinics.
The former agency, now understaffed, is charged with ensuring that such cases of abuse --- and death --- do not occur; the latter organization has as its mission making available in a confidential and non-judgmental way the family planning information and supplies needed to prevent the conception of unwanted children (no state money was used to fund the abortion services that Planned Parenthood also provides).
In addition, those who home-school their children now may opt out of all state reporting and supervisory requirements if they wish to do so. And in both of these cases, the allegedly abusive parents did opt out.
So these flowers are for lost children.
Iowans sometimes are besotted with our image as a place where "every prospect pleases," forgetting the other half of Anglican hymn writer Reginald Heber's couplet, "and only man is vile."