If you enjoyed the weed column of a few weeks ago, you could think of this one as Weeds, Part 2, The Vine Returns.
One of the rules for classifying weeds, you may recall, was: if it grows anyplace you don’t want it… it’s a weed. I suspect that pretty well locks the morning glory into the weed category here in this farming community. I’ve seen how it vines around the corn stalks and creeps through the soybean rows, and I’m pretty sure all farmers see the morning glory as a weed of the highest (or lowest) order. Practically invincible, you never see just one morning glory in a field. On misty late summer mornings, the sun barely visible over the fence rows, some fields are nearly covered with a blanket of the characteristic blue, purple, pink and white trumpet‑shaped blossoms. Farmers probably look at morning glories much as suburbanites view dandelions on their lawns.
As with dandelions, children see something quite different. For several mornings now, a couple of young friends have been bringing in morning glory blossoms for a closer look. Every morning, it seems, we find something different, a different shade, unique markings and highlights.
The purple blooms are the richest, truest purple I have ever seen, the purple of kings and great wealth; purple that looks like velvet feels, soft as baby skin. They have slim stars in their centers, like a treasure.
Next to this deep purple, the blue looks like a pale cousin. It’s a pretty enough color, but it doesn’t stun you with it’s luxuriance. Probably it’s only that the purple has spoiled my color eye, but the blue seems washed out, like the blue sky on a hot summer day. I know it’s blue because it’s supposed to be blue, but it’s the memory, the sense of blue as much as the sight of it.
The pink morning glories are nice. Pink is thought to be a soothing color, and looking at pink morning glories, I believe that. They make me smile and feel good. Morning glory pink isn’t the pink of baby girls or healthy skin or mythical elephants, it’s more like the pink in the center of a white rabbit’s eye. It’s a happy pink, a slightly naughty pink, a pink that says, “Come out and play.”
Last but not least are the white blossoms. I looked closely at the white ones this morning because I had been avoiding them. White morning glory blossoms look so plain, so simple, so…well, homely. At least that’s what I thought until I looked closer. In the center of the saintly whiteness, some artist hand has, with studied nonchalance, placed five bold brush strokes of color that is a combination of all the morning glory shades and tints; sumptuous, but not quite purple; playful and teasing, but not quite pink; with the barest hint of a tint of blue that you can only see out of the corner of your eye. I liked the white ones much more than I thought I would, and that’s only one of the lessons I’ve learned from the morning glories.
You have to enjoy morning glories very quickly…a glimpse of them, trespassing where the farmer doesn’t want them, or quickly examined, fresh from a young and excited hand; because, you see, morning glories don’t last. They open with joy in the early morning light and fade with the heat of day and nothing you do can change that. Morning glories don’t last in sun and you can’t coax them to stay by floating them in bowls of water in the cool of the house. They are fleeting things, and lovely, and they are weeds, and let that be the best lesson they leave, that we shouldn’t judge too harshly or fail to see the beauty that’s around us, whatever it’s called.