Tag: flower

Light and Shadow

“All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow.”
Leo Tolstoy – Anna Karenina

Light and Shadow

I was traversing my garden, trying to explore the little mesmerizing worlds that there was to discover.

The fly was just sitting there, on a beautiful flower, oblivious of the human pointing his lens directly at him. I was witnessing a scene that at once reminded me of something that Stepan said to Devin in the first few chapters of Anna Karenina. “… the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow.”

Here we have the vile fly, desecrating an object of purest beauty. Here we see the light and shadow interacting, as we so often see in our own lives (and so oftentimes choose to ignore). The beggar at the corner of the street, with outstretched hand pleading for some light in his life. Government protests in Ukraine and Venezuela for what the people deem to be a just cause. The opulent and toxic lifestyles of the Wall Street Wolves. The unarmed girl putting a flower in the barrel of a soldier’s loaded gun.

There is so much light, so much variety, so much shadow, so much charm to this beautiful and fleeting moment that we call life.

Winter Blossom

Winter Blossom

winter blossom
melting my heart
as the chill sets in
around melancholic faces
my face lights up
like a beacon of fire

winter blossom
thawing my heart
I want to touch
petals of finest beauty
my eyes are alive
full of pure desire

winter blossom
flint to my heart
fan the ember
and give me life
but winter lingers
ever longer, cooling fire

oh the irony:
winter blossom
only thrives in snow
the romantic fool
will freeze to death
as he proclaims his
feelings atop
snowy mountain

Francois Hermanus Steyn – May 2013

Orange Flower


Behold the Strelitzia Reginae, Crane Flower or Bird of Paradise! I framed the spikes of the flower against the backdrop of our pool and the result was very pleasing! Clear blue and bright orange seems so merry. Summer is upon us in full force (South Africa) – much to the delight of students and other people all over our country: we flock to pools and grab our Frisbees, run around and eat our ice-creams. We continue to study and stress and work our bodies and fingers to the bone, but at least we have a delightful backdrop that can easily unwind our minds and loosen our knotted muscles. Things are so much better, and more tolerable, in spring and summer without the cold and dark winter gripping and plaguing our minds. It’s no wonder that people in less sunny places tend to kick the bucket prematurely; their exit merely reinforcing the echoes of this dark and cutthroat world.

So behold the flowers, and live for the flowers. After winter a new spring will always follow (except if we completely screw over the world), with new opportunities, new life and an abundance of joy.

I just can’t wait for the year to come to an end; to reap the rewards of a hard-fought academic year, to just kick up my feet and relax for hours on end. Worries will fade and we’ll live as humans are supposed to live – free.





Wear your heart like a crown of fire

   In the cold of night, when candles die.

Share your warmth with Life’s pyre

   Give not in, to lethargic sheep’s desire.

You should not mould to foreign tongue

   But be the shape your soul does want.

Be sweet accords from angels’ lung

   And evade devil’s husky hounds’ hunt.

For too long we shackled the flint

   As we sought lost matches; soaked:

We broke down door of forsaken mint,

   Behold! A room in darkness cloaked.

Soft spoken truth is fuel enough

   To illuminate your crown of light,

With plate of peace and sword of love

   To brace us in our darkest fight.

November 2011 – Francois Hermanus Steyn

Nature’s Simple Beauty

Aloes produce some of the most beautiful flowers. This is a flower from the Aloe succotrina (or Fynbos aloe as commonly known). Altough one can find these aloes primarily in the Western Cape, we happen to have a few in our garden.

Mother Nature is harsh, simple, beautiful.

Flowers, mountains, sea and wild animals.

Raw power, gentle whispers of the wind, rain.

The bringer of Life, of Death.

Refuge and the hunting grounds.

Chaos and order, anarchy and hierarchies.

Red to violet, white to black.

Mother Nature is the destroyer.

Mother Nature is the giver.

We live hand in hand with Mother Nature; and yet we are blinded by avarice. We are greedy and selfish human beings; we burn down forests for coin and we rape Mother Nature for coin. We are the mighty who trample on Earth to get our way, and then we trample on each other to reach the top of Gold Mountain. Mother Nature never forgets, like an elephant, and she will one day slap us across the face with her mighty trunk and surely without remorse.  She will gore us with her tusks of ivory, reclaiming the debt we owe her – for every ounce of ivory we have hacked away from her and then hung shamelessly and proudly on our chests. She will avenge every sick trophy we nail to our wall – and we will pay with blood.

How does one define mutualism?