Po’ipū, Hawaii -- Botanists estimate that there are more than 390,000 different kinds of plants in the world, nearly 370,000 of which are flowering.
It's about as good an explanation as I've ever heard, partly because it rings true and partly because it can't be proved scientifically. (A lot of things that can't be proved scientifically are true, nonetheless.)
So here on the south shore of Kauai I spent some time last week visiting the National Tropical Botanical Garden, which includes the McBryde and Allerton gardens. One could spend weeks there (my wife and I had a couple of hours) and not see anything close to all that grows there under the careful eyes of botanists who work to preserve rare plants and to make sure that what grows stays healthy.
I will not be naming here all the plants you see in the photos I took, though most of them can be found at that botanical garden. The hibiscus flower pictured at left with drops of rain on it is an exception. I found it at a shopping area in a different location.
Sometimes it's just a form of meditation and praise to surround oneself with Earth's verdant wares, which I like to think of not so much as utilitarian (though many have plenty of good uses for human survival) but, rather, simply as gifts of beauty.
At the end (spoiler alert) of Stanley Elkin's novel The Living End he describes God explaining to humanity what life was supposed to be all about. What they didn't get, God says, is that it was about the art. That was the whole point. The art.
So enjoy some of that divine art here today. And let's resolve not to be like the people described in a Jewish prayer book with which I'm familiar. It describes them this way: "We walk sightless among miracles."
* * *
APPEALING TRUMP'S MUSLIM BAN
A defiant President Trump says he plans to appeal the judicial rejection of his revised Muslim immigration ban (let's call it what it is) all the way to the Supreme Court. Although any president has -- and should have -- wide authority over immigration to keep the country secure, executive orders should reflect the core values of our Constitution. So far Trump's two tries fail at that.