Harm Brings Punishment


This plant, the thistle, is a symbol of bravery and loyalty. It sports beautiful flowers, which have a sweet fragrance, and are regularly visited by bees and butterflies but it also has very sharp, tough and painful spikes. It can grow to a height of five feet and, because of its vicious, scary-looking spikes, has no natural enemies. I find this plant to be a sort of conundrum, both beautiful and useful yet harmful at the same time. Obviously, it is protected from being eaten by animals due to its spikes. And, if cut back it grows back even stronger…a trait to be admired? This plant is very common to Scotland and has been its national emblem for centuries. The Scots identified with it, as do I, because it is tough and durable as well as defiant against aggressors.

There is a legend of a Viking who stepped upon a thistle and his scream (of pain) alerted sleeping Scottish clansmen just in time to hold back the Viking attack.

I live in the high desert of New Mexico and out here the thistle grows wild. The first time I saw this plant I became entranced with it and with its attributes.

I had to paint it.


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