Showy Rattle Box Versus Heavy Metal


Reflections from Chester Freeman

A few days ago, when the sun was bright and shinning, I went out into the back field to pick some ornamental sunflowers. As I walked through the field, I realized the sunflowers were beaten down by the rain and were beginning to wither and die. However, I was able to find enough to make a nice flower arrangement. To my surprise while walking through the tall grasses and sunflowers, I discovered a new flower.  It was on a tall stem and bright yellow. I picked some of those to complete the sunflower arrangement. Once I recut the flowers and put fresh water in the oval vase, I began to look online to find out what this flower was.  At first, I thought it was a sweet pea but then found it was called a yellow showy rattle box wildflower. The scientific name was Crotalaria spectabilis.  It was introduced to our country from the tropics.  I can certainly understand why they call it spectabilis because the color is so brilliant that it is spectacular! I also wondered why they called it rattle box and that comes from the seeds becoming loose in the pod and rattling when the pod is shaken. They associate it with the rattle snake so that is where the crotalaria comes from. I also learned that these flowers are used to improve foil and provide a great source of organic matter. That made me wonder if the farmer of this field actually planted these flowers to aid his soil especially since it was obvious to me that he had planted corn the year before and it is known for depleting the soil of its nutrients.

So how does this relate to me?  I have always loved flowers. I think that love was nurtured by spending time with my maternal grandmother and watching her take care of the roses and other flowers in her front yard. One thing I do remember about that time is that her roses were fragrant with stunning deep red and yellow petals. Today it is hard to find a rose that has fragrance. They all look attractive, but when I pick up a bunch in Trader Joes, there is no scent. There is nothing like sticking your nose into the petals of a fresh cut rose.  For me, it takes my breath away.

Speaking of breath, I have been practicing mindfulness meditation during my radiation treatments.

This is my third week and the oncologists feel that I am doing well especially in regard to side effects. There is one issue that I had to address last week in regard to my radiation treatments. The room is filled with a big machine called a medical linear accelerator which gives out external beam radiation. When I lay down on the platform my body is adjusted and placed into a cast.  For the first two weeks they were playing music in the room and it was bothering me. I did not say anything until the end of the second week and asked if I could have the room silent.  The staff seemed puzzled and said they would be happy to play another type of music for me. I said no. The reason being the click and clacks of the accelerator along with the music sounded like a Led Zeppelin or Motley Crue concert! So, to me it was like being in a heavy metal rock concert sitting on the front row by the speakers!  I could not take it anymore. 

With the music gone I focus on the heavy metal of the machine moving around me as well as moving me on the platform. I hear the clicks, the grinding sounds, the scraping of the metal and then the star trek beams going into my body. My eyes are closed and I am present with the heavy metal as I visualize the bright yellow showy rattle box flower in my mind’s eye.





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