The White Album

The sensual elegance of flowers—up close

By John Steele

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Georgia O’Keefe said, “I’ll paint what I see-what the flower is to me but I’ll paint it big and they will be surprised into taking the time to look at it – I will make even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers.”

To actually look closely at the stunning elegance of flowers is to see one of the most beautiful aspects of nature. The architecture of these botanical wonders is a testament to nature’s boundless creativity and ingenuity.

Marvel at the petals, the exquisite building blocks of floral architecture. Take a close look at a rose, for instance. Its delicate petals are like soft, velvety sheets, meticulously arranged in concentric circles. Each petal overlaps its neighbor, forming a protective shield around the precious reproductive organs within.

Consider the lily, with its striking trumpet-like shape. Its petals open wide, revealing an enchanting world within. Delicate stamens and pistils, like delicate threads, stretch out towards the heavens, beckoning insects, and birds to partake in the dance of pollination.

Each flower, in its own unique way, is a testament to nature’s ability to create astonishing architecture. From the delicate symmetry of a daisy to the elaborate beauty of a hibiscus, these botanical wonders showcase the ingenuity and creativity of our natural world.

So here, all in white, let us marvel at the architectural splendor of flowers, for they are living artworks that have enchanted and inspired humanity throughout the ages. In their delicate petals and intricate structures, we find a profound reminder of the extraordinary beauty that surrounds us, a reminder that even the smallest of organisms can leave us in awe and wonder.

John Steele is the Publisher, Editorial Director and founder of Nautilus, the online and print science magazine with a literary voice. He holds a degree in Philosophy from the University of Utah.

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Issue 24 – June 2023

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