This flourishing plant is outside the door of a bank. I would expect it to be cut down and removed but suspect it’s barely noticed. I thought the flowers were cowslip but learned this is yellow fumitory. It’s not a wild flower but grows wild here. Practically thrives on neglect…filling in odd corners here and there is what I read about it.

It seems to me you have to be an outsider in some fashion if you want to live sanely in this world. Socrates was killed for his intelligence. The ancient Greek state could neither tolerate nor cope with it. Shakespeare’s Fool in King Lear looks foolish – but he is the touchstone for wisdom like wild growing flowers in a sick city. Consider the difference between this yellow life and the deadness around it.

I’m going through a non news reading phase. Not by design but because it’s how I feel, when it concerns repetitive and trivial so called politics. I don’t care who’s leading which party for example. I have ideas about the ramifications, but further ideas about the entire system. I agree with outdoor advocate Edward Abbey who said: A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.

I did notice however more recent gun shots, shootings, and an armed police raid very close to where I once worked in an area called Harpurhey. I know people who were told by the police if you see this man phone 999 and don’t approach him. That was about a year ago. The recent shootings were last week.

A teacher once said to me religions can’t tolerate educated people. There are gross and subtle ramifications to the idea. Grossly, religions have and still do ban books, censor ideas, and kill people if you disagree with them. Then you might consider the word education, from the Latin educare suggesting ‘bring forth from within’, and how education means more than books, schools, and systems of belief. A belief is not a fact. So consider that philosophically – and stop being ridiculous. See where that takes you. In some situations today, like Socrates, you would be killed for saying that.

In India, there’s a tradition of so called holy men who wander the roads begging for food and money. They get it, because they are an understood part of the society. So too is the aboriginal walkabout. I’m not suggesting they are wise men. The Indians I’ve seen looked deranged with wild eyes and extreme yogic habits. In principle however I like the idea of finding alternative meaning beyond city streets, banks, and even university. Hills, flowers and wildness are part of that feeling.

I photographed here quickly and warily. The security cameras watched and if I loitered too much I’d get into trouble. What are you doing outside our bank? Planing a raid as your camera watches me, obviously. I’d explain and tell the truth. I’ve done that a few times. They would look at me, look at the flowers, not comprehend, weigh me up, strange idea but the chap looks normal: probably harmless.

I’d like to think the bank did know the fumitory were here and enjoyed them as I did, a quirky delight on a sombre day. Nature in the city. Yellow life in dead concrete. It’s unlikely. But imagine – Jane says to Elaine Have you seen the flowers and she replies I know, there again like last year.


Manchester Wild Flowers: Bank Fumitory

Saturday August 13, 2016