Section 176.a. of the US Flag Code: The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
On this 2018 Fourth of July our nation is in dire distress. Political polarization is the worst I’ve seen in my lifetime. Many believe the current divide is only surpassed by the Civil War era. We are conflicted not only with one another, but within ourselves.
How do we stand for what we believe in, while following the example of Christ? I don’t know. My Dad would remind me “we are in the Love and Forgiveness Business”. But, even those who profess to be Christian are splintering. One day I’m furious at all the stupid people on the other side. The next day, my heart is broken over so many broken and lost relationships. Guess the only thing I can do is pray on this 2018 Fourth of July, for God to heal our broken relationships, nation and world.
Last summer I took notice of several Mimosa trees (Albizia julibrissin) or Persian Silk Tree, growing along the highway on my daily commute. By the time I got around to taking photographs, I had unfortunately missed the end of the flowering season in mid-July. This year I was deliberate about sleuthing out the best morning and late afternoon Mimosa tree candidates.
Initially, I intended to feature the lovely magenta-red flower clusters in contrast with the dense, dark green bi-pinnate compound leaflets. However, after following my color treatment, my monochrome workflow revealed a strikingly different composition.
As widely observed and commented on, monochrome elevates the composition’s lines, shapes and textures across a range monochromatic tonality. The increased monochrome visual impact in these compositions comes from the Mimosa tree’s fascinating leaflet and flower architectures. In previous posts, I’ve discussed how fractal geometry and Fibonacci numbers (e.g. Golden Mean, Golden Spiral, etc.) is expressed in the patterns found in plant structures (phyllotaxis).
The Mimosa tree was introduced to the United States over 250 years ago. Today its widely considered to be an invasive species and is opportunistic across many different soil conditions. Its numerous seed pods are easily spread and remain fertile over long periods of drought. It’s not surprising then to find so many specimens occupying the treeline along well-traveled roadways across the US.
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Perhaps the onerous clouds over the flag represent the breakdown of civil discourse and rise of mean-spirited nationalism, a great darkness threatening to extinguish the light of truth represented in the founding principles of our great country and others throughout the world. Lord, we pray for the patience, humility and an open heart from which to hear and understand one another. But also, give us strength to stand united, firmly, against absolutism, intolerance and ignorance.
US Flag Day 2018 Composition 1
On a lighter note – Flag Day in the United States falls on June 14th each year. On June 14th, 1777 the Second Continental Congress adopted the United States flag. It wasn’t until 1916 that Flag Day was officially declared, by Woodrow Wilson who was the United States president at the time.
These photos don’t really give a sense of the scale of this enormous flag at Camping World on I-40 in Greensboro. I believe this flag is at least 100 feet (30 meters) across!
My youngest son Parker, a graduating high school senior, visited the University of South Carolina in Columbia this past spring. I heard “Dad, are you coming” as I paused to capture this architectural abstract with my Tamron 15-30mm lens. I love the extreme perspectives offered by this super-wide angle lens.
Parker will be attending USC this fall. I wish I could go with him an experience college life all over again! He said I could be his roommate, but I’m not really sure he meant it.