|Rosa 'Ebb Tide' & Hosta 'Patriot' 10 August 2023|
In 1960 I went with my mother in Mexico City to see the film Compulsion.
Compulsion is a 1959 American crime drama film directed by Richard Fleischer. The film is based on the 1956 novel of the same name by Meyer Levin, which in turn was a fictionalized account of the Leopold and Loeb murder trial. It was the first film produced by Richard D. Zanuck.
Although the principal roles are played by Dean Stockwell
and Bradford Dillman, top billing went to Orson Welles. Wikipedia
The film was about the real life murder perpetrated by a couple of friends Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb. Their excuse was that they wanted to demonstrate their superior intellect in making a perfect crime (it wasn’t) and that they felt like it.
The above has been in my thoughts for some days. In my American History class at St. Edward’s High School our teacher, Brother Francis Barrett, C.S.C. had told us about what by then was called the Leopold and Loeb Murder.
What has been in my mind is that word compulsion and the agony (it is) of going through it. I am not meditating on a perfect murder. I am simply compelled to scan my plants every day and the scan count is now well over 3000 of them since I began in the summer of 2001.
As I snip my plants I know that I am well ahead of my
initial purpose of reproducing the plants of my garden accurately. The scans
were beautiful nonetheless (this is a word I seem to like to use). I scanned a
rose or a hosta flower. It could have been a hydrangea or a monarda. Now I find
myself looking for combinations where I scan two or more as companions. In today's scan I demonstrate that I now almost always go beyond the one scan and I go for artsy variations.
Because my philosophy instructor Ramón Xirau at the University of the Americas in Mexico City in 1962 was a Platonist (he never told us he was one, I just suspected) I have now adopted the Platonic World of Ideas in the sense that when I scan a plant I scan its very essence.That essence that makes it what it is. In a lesser degree I use the method when I take portraits of people. I try to draw out that essence.
There is something extra that occurs with my plant scanning particularly when the plant scanned dies or I give it away.
My first scan was Rosa “Reine Victoria’. She was a difficult multipetalled Bourbon Rose that hated our wet springs. She died a couple of years after 2001. That extra is that I believe that by having that essence scan of the rose, in a way, I have the plant even though it is not in my garden.
All that brings me to the real agony of my compulsion. Every scan in some way brings the memory of Rosemary and her plants and that this plant was her plant.
When I look at my photographs of my Rosemary I wonder, if as with my plant scans, I have with me (and within me) a Platonic Essence that is (not was) Rosemary?