Loveliness in Miniature

As a child, I have always assumed that flowers are warmly hued; red, yellow, orange, fuchsia, and pink and BIG!. Every time I drew a flower, it was always a five petal red hibiscus with a yellow stamen. I could neither imagine flowers that do not have any red or yellow on them nor flowers smaller than a one-peso coin. Needless to say, I was oblivious of flowers with cooler shades and small sizes until a Chinese soap opera titled “Lavender” was aired on TV. The hopeless romantic that I am, I began to look for bluish flowers that would resemble the lavender. I planned to preserve the petals inside a vial and give it to my beloved as a symbol of my undying love!

My search for tiny flowers in the shade of blue or purple introduced me to the world of loveliness in miniature. Here is how; the first bluish flower I saw is a very common herbaceous plant whose stems resembles asparagus but with tiny lovely lavender colored bell-like flowers. I did not want to take chances of taking a blurred picture of my own version of “lavender” that I clicked on the icon of a flower (Yes! the macro setting). By chance, something buzzed and I said “shhh!” but the flash caught the image of a tiny bee. That time I was more curious about the structure of the bee rather than of the flower so that I viewed an enlarged version of the picture. Behold! The lovely blue flower revealed an ant, some drops of dew, and varying shades of blue in its petals. I was silent for many minutes just taking in the beauty that the magnified version of the flower revealed. It was when I realized that very small flowers are lovelier than I expected.

After that, I was hooked: I spent hours looking for tiny flowers to capture using the macro. Summer holidays were spent waking up very early to take advantage of the yellow color of sunlight, walking; pausing, crouching, lying on the ground, holding my breath while waiting for the lens to focus, keeping the camera steady as I clicked, and assuming various postures to get the right angle that would show the flower at its best. My search by this time has widened from looking for tiny flowers in the shade of blue to flowers of any color whose diameters were not greater than a five centavo coin. It was a painstaking activity since the objects of my search are sometimes hidden by foliage.

There was no stopping me for quite some time. My uploads showed tiny flowers with velvety textures, with “hairs” that still have raindrops sparkling like diamonds, with stamens glued with yellow crystal like pollen grains, and with orbs that looked like Christmas balls with silver needles. If I was really lucky, mother nature even gave me a bonus; a tiny flower would reveal even tinier ants sipping its nectar or a bee would stop by and sip just on time for the flash to dazzle. My many hours of shooting made me “wiser” in the sense that I began to compare taking photos of tiny flowers to taking photos of women for a photoshoot. I am happy to say that I prefer shooting the small flowers no matter how difficult it was to keep my hands still while waiting for the macro lens to adjust and focus. Women would have complained a lot and would have been stiffly conscious of holding their posture; but the flowers are the opposite; no matter how long the wait is, they are gracefully lovely in their silence.

Someone very wise once said that man should spend more hours looking at the earth than looking at the sky. Though I believe that he did not mean this literally, that was exactly what I did that whole summer. Do you know why? It is because most of the time, the tiny flowers belong to the grasses, to very short shrubs, and herbs. I observed that the prettiest of flowers, and those with the most intricate designs, are the tiny ones and are those closest to the ground. My numerous observations gave me the same results so much so that I began to wonder if such “microscopic” beauty is really meant for everyone to behold. After all they are almost unnoticeable unless one takes time to pause and look closely, and oftentimes with the aid of a magnifier!

It took me a few weeks more of wondering, when, while trying to shoot the “dandelion stage” of a once pink and purple tiny flower, I realized why. It is because God plays fair by providing beauty for all his different creatures, both great and small, to enjoy. The beauty of larger flowers, with their vivid colors, is meant to be enjoyed by those who like what is obvious while the beauty of tiny flowers, with their intricate structure and softer colors, is meant for those who appreciate what is subtle. In the same way that God provided both flowers for the bees and the tiny ants, He made loveliness exist not only in the great wonders of nature but also in miniature. The beauty of larger flowers is for those who do not have time to wait while that of small ones is for those who are patient. With that realization I crouched very low, steadied my hand, waited for the wind to be still so that the flower would stop moving, held my breath, and clicked.

► About the Author:
Ms. Maria Claudette Caluban teaches Chemistry and Scientific Research at Catanduanes National High School, Virac, Catanduanes. She's been a teacher trainee in Japan (Okayama University and Naruto University of Education) under the Monbukagakusho Scholarship.
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