Life Around Black-Eyed Susan


‘Stop and smell the flowers,’ they say. But they are not talking about the garden. And when they talk about the garden, they are talking merely of flowers.

Life, unseen, thrives among the clefts between observed and unobserved.

Nagesh Manay knows that. We shared the best of a boyhood. Uncounted hours that now add up to heaps of time. Days and months and years of dreaming aloud of Eden. We tramped frog-rich bogs that were flattened, deplorably, into Astroturfed hockey fields. We fished for water boatmen in park ponds, ducking behind men kissing covertly on benches. We trapped scorpions in valleys drained by neglect. So trained were our senses that our gazes travelled, unbidden, to nether nooks of flowers, to unsexy underbellies of desiccating leaves, to humid mulch at once dead and alive. Plant lice, cuckoo-spit, stink bugs, hibernating toads, worm snakes, crab skeletons… unerringly, we knew their lairs and the troves they hid in.

We are grown men now. Groan, men. Fathers. Husbands. Mad men. Old men. Carousing toward infirmity. Still dreaming. Of Amazonia and El Dorado and Atlantis. Of Kuiper Belt epiphanies and the eternal afterlife. But most of all, of Eden. Godless. Darwinian. A Saganesque cosmos burgeoning with life terrestrial and extraterrestrial.

To this day a storm-darkened garden, unmanicured and overgrown and hirsute with moss, stops us in the midst of our tedium and rasps a spark off an old flint. Drawing out the inner boy. And we see as little boys see.

But then, as you will see when you enjoy his photo-essay, you don’t have to be a boy.

Life Around Black-eyed Susan*


it all began when i saw on the brilliant yellow flower a man, ’tis praying


and an ambush brewing beneath the surface


but nothing quite as smart as like a relatively well-camouflaged crab spider waiting in plain sight


for an evening meal…


and there we are, a little venom injected…


while some beatles look on from high


and the temperamental drummer beats deafeningly away

IMG_6933 (1)

while damned thieves wait


and yes, a more traditional hunter, though just as powerful…


and down below, with the the rain comes the snail


and up above, a moth waits for a mate


as the light-footed dragon sits at the end of the world


but nothing compares to the longest of them all, a living stick!


between daybreak and morning


between sunset and dusk


and the little observer, of little life


made beautiful by one of the most talented birds in the world, whistler’s mother…

Nagesh Manay earns his keep as an advertising magnate, but that is too confining a set of parentheses to encompass his multifarious talents. The Green Ogre thanks him for this guest post, and for a cherished walk in the remembered garden of boyhood.

*Black-eyed Susans are long-stemmed, resplendent yellow flowers with dark hearts – a lot like us

Introduced by Beej


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