I don’t remember when I first fell in love with the wildflower called Shooting Star (Primula sect. Dodecatheon).
Back in the late 70s, my dad took me to the camera store near Oklahoma City University and bought me my first Nikon. The next time we were at the cabin together, the two of us took our cameras on hikes and recorded images of wildflowers. I remember him searching for the Spotted Coral Root Orchid that bloomed in the summer, usually near the base of a rotting tree. I don’t remember seeing any Shooting Star.
One summer in the 90s I took my first photograph of a Colorado Shooting Star. The patch of flowers was up the canyon a ways, right on the bank of the river. I climbed over a fence so I could get close enough to take a photograph. Each summer I went back to that spot to see if the shooting stars were still blooming there. (No, I did not scale the fence again. Most of the time, the gate was open!) And then I found a little patch of them at the river’s edge right below our cabin. Their eco system, nestled in the base of an old pine tree.
Each time I get here to the canyon, I take a pilgrimage down to the river and visit the shooting stars.
I admire the flowers for their resilience. They are so beautiful, tender, delicate, tenacious, putting down roots next to a frigid, rushing river. The summer after the flash flood of 2013, I wondered if the flowers would still be there. I found that their tree had fallen, but that enough pine roots were still there to hold together their home. Shooting Star, grass, moss, and ferns. Now they bloom, courageously hanging out over the water.
I love you, my beautiful little Shooting Stars. You give me stability, courage, joy, and hope. May I — may we — be as resilient as you.