The Scientist and The Flower Meadow

Christopher J Munson Jr

“All authority is quite degrading. It degrades those who exercise it, and degrades those over whom it is exercised.”
-Oscar Wilde, “The Soul of Man Under Socialism”

A flower patch exists along a coastline in Hawaii. Tracing this flower patch, there exists a trekked path made of pebbles — pebbles worn and wedged into the dirt from years of scientists following its curvers. With flowers to the left and the Pacific Ocean to the right, the path snakes up a hillside toward an observatory. The observatory rests at the top of a bluff, connecting the great power of the ocean to the whimsical sparkles of the stars.  Following this path daily, a scientist enjoys her fortune to work in a field she loves.  

The scientist in Hawaii works at a space observatory staring deep into the mysteries of the stars. She spent years studying and currently sits at the helm of space observation. Her responsibility, she decides what area of space the telescope investigates each night—revealing the ancient wisdom of how things were (are). The telescope delivers information to the computer which paint dazzling images: speckled with bright yellow and varying hues of magenta–purple, green, blue. The computers work tirelessly processing the information collected by the telescope. The scientist enjoys the bright white and purple starry formations the most.  

One day, she left the observatory early and walked along the green, hilly, coastline. The wind kicked up the scientist’s long blonde hair. She wore circular rimmed glasses and held her sneakers and socks in her hands. She walked with a skip in her step, flowing through the natural garden, feeling the earth squeeze between her purple painted toes. She observed the flowers in the meadow. Some flowers grew with yellow centers and purple leaves, others red centers and yellow leaves, orange centers and orange leaves, yellow centers with white leaves. Small flowers broke ground among the old longstanding flowers, reaching up to meet the sun. Long green grass filled the spaces between the old flowers and the young flowers, ensuring no space the ground provided went to waste. All flowers and grasses danced gently with the wind, their pollen popping off the petals–communicating with the outside world.

She hustled many mornings to arrive to work, but did so infrequently on the return. It could take eighteen minutes and forty-three seconds walking at a brisk pace. She spent most mornings walking at this brisk pace because she was a bit clumsy with time. She often lost track of time in the morning: in a book, frantically searching for her keys, enjoying time with her husband, or editing reports for the scientific journals. If she strolled to work, it required twenty-some minutes. Today on her return from work, however, time faded from concept as she sunk into the feeling of the beauty the meadow cultivated—enjoying the earthly beauty supplementing that of the stars.       

As the scientist flowed through the flowers, the flowers turned toward her, seemingly watching her as she watched them. The light bounced off the pedals, showering the pasture in a warm  haze–illuminating the pollen dusting the air, off to lands far away. The golden silky strands of light emitted from the flower patch created an aura that drew the attention from all who walked through the flower patch. The breeze pushed the flowers around, mimicking the scientists’ movements. She sauntered and danced and lept and twirled. The flowers followed, tracing her figure in waves through the meadow. They danced. With no audience to perform for, no observer to watch but the universe itself, the two played along to the whimsical mood that blanketed the mountain meadow. In a moment of excitement, the scientist pulled her shirt off. She placed the shirt on the ground, starting a pile with her jeans, shoes, and socks following. 

“Wooohhhhoooooo” she exclaimed into the wind. “Wssshhhhhhh,” as she imitated the sound of the gentle breeze. The mid-day sun warmed her skin. “How beautiful. Oh, how wonderful. Earth. Flowers. Sun. Wind. This feeling I feel when I am with you. I feel we are not separate. But one. Flowers, I dance while you flow in the wind. Wind, you graze the Earth’s surface—which catches the sun’s rays and provides my ground. Earth, my feet dance across your surface, my feet quickly returning if I leap, due to your great attraction. All day I stare into the stars, admiring the landscape of the sky, hoping something else exists, wondering if another is doing the same. And I must thank you for being here, gifting me sturdy ground from which we leap into wispy thought.” The scientist spun and spun, and the flowers circled in their stalks the same.  

She undressed fully. Emanating a sound of glee, she rolled down into the flowers. The flowers caught her weight and laid her down gently. A small poof of dirt exploded from under her body as it hit the ground–marking her arrival. The scientist lay face up looking toward the sky, watching white puffy clouds meander across the sky. She sunk into the flowers’ beauty—in response, the flowers sunk into hers. Then, she curled into the flowers and the flowers curled into her, creating a whirlpool of beauty. “You don’t know how lovely you are,” said the scientist to the flowers, glad she had found them, setting them apart. “Tell me your secrets…ask me your questions…” the scientist yawned to the flowers as she drifted into a nap. 

The scientist woke a bit later. She relaxed. She felt. She redressed. 

“I love you,” she gleamed toward the flowers. Following her statement, she picked a flower with a purple center and white leaves and placed it behind her ears. She continued her way home with the green stem of the flower, sticky from its moisture, resting behind her ear. The scientist flowed home, drunk in her bliss. 

The next morning, the scientist left for the observatory with the green stem nestled behind her ear. Combining the beauty of herself and the flowers, she radiated into the world–formless and attracting the attention of any observer. The white petals of the flower bounced softly as she strolled back toward the flower patch. With her, she carried a vase and a pair of scissors. She approached the flower patch; the early morning sun floated in-line with the flower patch, the sunlight flowing through through the mass of the flower patch, using the sun’s warmth and luminance while the sun lent it. The scientist wandered toward the point she laid the previous day. She observed the impression her body left in the flowers. Near the barely visible outline, the scientist reached down and grabbed a bunch of purple centered flowers with white leaves and cut them as close to the ground as possible. Specks of dirt floated to the ground as she lifted the flowers into the vase. She cut until she filled the vase–four bunches in total. With a full vase, the scientist walked toward the observatory. She did not lay with the flowers because she did not make the time.  

That afternoon, the flowers mourned the loss of the bunch of purple centered flowers. The flowers knew the effort the flowers expended growing beauty. The flowers in the meadow could not understand how they had shared the wonderful afternoon before suffering a grave betrayal of trust…mass kidnapping. They had danced with the scientist! They had cuddled the scientist’s naked body! They even shared in their beauty for the scientist to take with her. Then, they watched as the scientist plucked Beauty by its roots, mercilessly cutting it off from its life force—the supply of water and nutrients. And for who!? Without water and nutrients, the flowers with the purple center and white leaves could not digest the sunlight and would dry up, stripping Beauty from the Earth. The meadow mourned the loss of the young purple-centered flowers with white leaves throughout the day, drooping their leaves and stems toward the ground. The sun dipped behind clouds–barely showing, the wind puttered and coughed, the grass curled into itself. 

Following the end of the day, she left the observatory and walked with the original flower with the purple center and white leaves nestled behind her ear. The vase sat next to her desk. Water supported the flowers she cut that morning–preserving their beauty for the moment. The flower behind her ear laid limp, without vibrance, as though sucked dry by a vampire seaking to drink Beauty. The scientist made her way through the meadow, dancing… but the meadow did not dance around the scientist. The flowers limped toward the ground. Instead of producing an aura, the meadow turned into a sink. “Maybe it is not windy today, some days are windy, and some days are not windy,” the scientist thought to herself. She longed to feel the one-ness she felt the previous day. Dropping the flower from behind her ear into the meadow, the scientist turned her attention to the ocean. She strolled along the path staring into the translucent, complex, water.

The next morning, the scientist dressed and left for work. The flowers still laid limp, but had formed overlapping circles absorbing the flower she dropped the previous day.

During work, the scientist felt restless and unfocused. The pictures the telescope delivered from the previous night revealed lackluster results which filled her day with mediocrity. Instead of analyzing space dust and gigantic star systems, she spent her day staring into the computer screen fiddling with algorithms, listening to the buzz and hum of the advanced equipment wondering if the master controls the slave or if, through the master’s dependency on the slave’s labor, the slave controls the master. Occasionally, working at the observatory was boring and dull. “That’s just how it is,” she thought to herself. Over lunch, the scientist left the cramped building and entered again into the flower patch. 

In the meadow, the flowers still lay in their dilapidated state; the petals soaked up the sun rather than reflecting it. They focused their direction toward the purple center and white leaves flower’s decaying carcass. The scientist observed the flowers in their depressed state then sat on the edge of the large cliff face. She closed her eyes and listened to the waves crash against the rocks. The rocks proved much stronger than the force of the ocean but the scientist knew that the water stripped particles from the cliff face each time the waves smashed into them, slowly disintegrating the mighty facade. She opened her eyes and watched the ocean breathe, inhaling and exhaling against the rock face. WSSSHHHH, PPPPHHEEHHHH. WWSSSHHHH, PPPHHHEEHHH. WWSSSHHH, PPPPHHEEEHHHH. She sat until well past her allotted lunch break. Rising to her feat, the scientist hobbled back to the observatory, thinking again about whether she works computers or computers work her. 

At the end of the day, she left the office with her head down, drudging through the meadows. She did not look to the ocean. She did not look to the flowers. She did not look to the sky. She did not look to the ground. There was not much to look at. The flowers still lay feeble and uninspired. She gazed aimlessly, cut off from the world around her. She did not feel the wind breezing on her skin, nor did she feel the sun warming her from one astronomical unit away. The day caught the scientist in a funk, the kind of funk that smothers feeling under an invisible cloth–the blue sky swooping down, taking after a blanketing cloth. Restricting the articulation of the mind, suffocating the imagination, this kind of blanketing cloth changes smiles to bickering laughter, a calming ocean into fear of its strength, joyous music into a nuanced headache. This funk sucked the scientist’s self into the abyss of self-absorption. 

Weeks continued like this. The sun’s rays reached the Earth but did not shine. The flowers grew from the ground but did not dance in the wind. The ocean rose and fell with the moon’s gravitational energy but did not crash against the rocky face. The scientist pottered between her house and the observatory, longing for the day the flowers would share again their world-expanding vitality. The telescope returned nothing for weeks—then months. After a year, the observatory shut down. 

On her final day leaving the observatory, the scientist slowly wandered through the patch of flowers. The flowers were not dead. They also had not shown signs of life in four months. She thought back to the day she danced in the meadow. She thought back to her body resting softly among the flowers’ beauty. She remembered the sense of oneness, of care, of love. She had felt the wisdom of the Earth course through the flower patch, through her. Inspired, she had adorned herself with the flower’s beauty, plucking the white-leaved and purple-centered flower and tucking it snuggly behind her ear. But, cut off from its life force, the flowers quickly died, stripping Beauty from the Flower, the Earth, the Scientist, and the Other. “Sometimes, you just cannot know,” she thought to herself, blissfully unaware. A tear dripped down her face as she was unable to frolic and enjoy the Beauty that slipped away from under her nescience, like a fish caught on the beach after the tide slipped away.    

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