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Walking through the woods, I sometimes deliberately forget the names of plants that I know. I choose the safety of presence. I cultivate ignorance. What is here outside my door? Fat stems, narrow, pale tipped, rusted from frost and with plump, bulging buds. Deep purple-red narrow stems as high as my thumb, the tops serrated but soft. Violet, purple, pale and deep gold, five-petaled once again. Thick leaves in threes, sprawled, five pink petals. Speckled, mottled brown, oval leaves in the mulch. Then twin lobes that seem like a motionless green butterfly, antennae with eight white petals. Then cleft and clasping angel wings, veined, undulating, wrinkly, succulent. And looking closer to find and stroke the inner sanctum of these creatures, places guarded, delicate, soft and vulnerable. It would be easier and more efficient to call these objects by name, to botanize using Latin in order to be precise. But the privacy of discovery, the delight of touching first beauty alone, can be spoiled


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