The promises of Yellow...It's not just Winter's snowy silences, Summer has it's own promises to keep, too. First tulips and daffodils spring forth to announce the arrival of light, then dandelions pop up to shout about it and to give children the chance to participate in blowing its seeds asunder before the wind usurps. Finally, the glorious sunflower stands tall and unfolds to reveal it's own riches: seeds for topping our summer salads AND for planting to ensure next year's repeat performance.
Seems Mother Nature simply loves the bright yellows, n'est pas?
According to science, though, that was not always the case. Flower fossils reveal original flowers were almost universally just pale greens and some pale yellows. That's when bugs were the primary pollinators. As MN re-evaluated, she decided that winged pollinators would ensure a wider distribution of her flowers, so she invented ways to attract them.
Colours! But not really colours. Those very valued pollinators can't see most colours. So flowers developed surfaces that can reflect differing UV radiances back to pollinators like bees (yes!) and birds and guide them from on high—not just to a flower itself, but further, into her nectar-laden centre.
Go here to see some neat stuff about it, but mostly the one image that shows a yellow Carolina Jessamine flower as we see it and a bee might see it.
Seems reds and blues and yellows offer some of the highest reflective opportunities, and lo! We now have flowers of many colours. Today I'm obsessing about the yellow ones. According to its etymology, it seems the word yellow, itself, comes from the Old English geolu, geolwe, meaning "yellow, yellowish," devived from the Proto-Germanic word gelwaz "yellow." It has the same Indo-European base, ghel- as the words gold and yell; ghel- means both bright and gleaming, and to cry out.
So today I'm shouting about all the wondrous yellow hues in our paint box: Yellow Ochre, Indian Yellow, Naples Yellow, Cadmium Yellow, Chrome Yellow, Zinc Yellow, Titanium Yellow, Gamboge, Orpiment (aka King's Yellow), and Hansa Yellow. And, of course, remembering Mellow Yellow, quite rightly.
I am happy to thank Fiona Phillips for this glorious show of the Power of Yellow. Fiona planted a bunch of Sunflower seeds in her Canterbury (yes, the one in England) garden and took this spectacular image about 8:30 on the morning of Aug 19th as this flower was the first of the bunch to announce its joy to the world. When not planting and taking pix, Fiona offers a free tarot class that explores cards through intuition and imagination, here.
As for me, I'm overjoyed to welcome this Sunflower and all his stunning siblings to my world.
If this isn't nice, what is?
~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course