Treasure hunting is the latest thing on reality television. There are the gold guys, the pirate booty guys, the gals who chase after storage units – okay I don’t get that one either. My favorites are the gem hunters. Part of it is that they ply their obsession on operatic Rocky Mountain vistas. The rest of it is that I love jewels. We all know ladies and gents so bejeweled they cannot comfortably wiggle their fingers. Me, rings have bugged me since my teenage turquoise phase. I couldn’t move my stacked digits then, either. To be honest, necklaces are beginning to rub me the wrong way as well. Earrings? I’ve downsized to modest solitaires - and an occasional turquoise because, well, it’s turquoise. Upon further reflection, then, it is jewel tones I love: veins of sapphire, blooded garnet, emerald, amethyst, lapis lazuli. This time of year I chase after gems just as my reality TV friends, except my jewels are the wildflowers of spring and summer. I get just as excited when I find the first band of amethyst Sweet William flowing up a stream bank. Abandon my car on the side of the road at the sight of a stand of blooded lobelia, trip over my own feet to find a single emerald Jack-in-the-pulpit or a vein of sapphire bluebells. I’ll drive up and down country roads for the first glimpse of the fiery orange butterfly weed and traipse the damp woodland trails for the chance to discover one allusive yellow lady slipper, but happily settle for a perfectly valuable clump of yellow trout lilies instead. My grandmother got me collecting the jewels of spring and summer. Her gift has lasted a lifetime, and the giving renews every March when tiny glints of Spring Beauty bedazzle the late winter mud. I plan to bequeath the very same jewels.
I call this photograph Ruby, because she's just a little sparkler.
Copyright RC 2016