Jun 30, 2010

Flowers of the Sea

I had the privilege today to browse through some of the herbarium books at the Museum of Natural History. They were stunning - albums of carefully pressed seaweed specimens created by Victorian Era women. The personal notes, the little poems, and the image in my mind of Victorian ladies combing the beaches for seaweed, all made today's experience a memorable one.

From Annie (The book this image comes from was dated 1893-1894)

Another book, titled "Bermuda Sea Mosses", included this poem on the inside front cover:

It reads:

Call us not weeds, we are flowers of the sea;
For lovely and bright, and gay-tinted are we,
And quite independent of sunshine or showers;
Then call us not weeds, we are Ocean's gay flowers.

Not nursed like the plants of a summer parterre,
Whose gales are but sighs of an evening air;
Our exquisite, fragile and delicate forms
Are nursed by the Ocean and rocked by the storms.

After browsing through several of these herbarium books, each so lovingly made, I feel inspired to look at seaweed a little differently now, how about you?

{Photographs taken courtesy of the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium, Roger Williams Park, Providence, RI.}

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