still point, world turning

Close-ups: onions, leeks, apples, tears

‘Gimme a close-up!’ a photographer friend is wont to say, tongue in cheek. We both enjoy sharp little visual details that hold within them worlds of meaning.

A different friend recently posted on Instagram this photo of an onion flower bud, about to burst out of its membrane into full bloom. It had such an intense bursting-out presence that I could almost smell the onion and I very much wanted to touch that gossamer membrane. It reminded me of the delicate rice-paper spring rolls that one can buy from street vendors in Vietnam – the so-soft paper tightly wrapped around delicious raw vegetables and spicy pickled ginger.


Copyright Sue Lennard

It also made me think of my friend who only plants leeks (a close relative of the onion, both belonging to the Allium genus) for their flowers, not for their vegetable value. We have spent many summers watching them move through their leek life cycle, fascinated by their sculptural forms and star-burst flowers .




So when I saw these close-ups by Walter Danzer some time ago on Jeremy Smith’s ‘anthropopper’ blog I was amazed, excited, delighted, and uplifted on so many levels. It was one of those epiphanic moments when it feels as if a veil has lifted on the way that one sees and understands. Of course! This makes complete sense – why wouldn’t the juice of a perfect organic apple, magnified many, many times, hold within it the image of an apple tree? A fractal is a fractal is a fractal, the microcosmic and the macrocosmic being perfect images of each other – a ‘bond of order’ as my homeopathy mentor used to say, that conveys essential, dynamic information in the form of energy.

This is what homeopaths term ‘the life force’, here made visible. If an apple tree is given what it needs to grow unimpeded and to its full potential, why would its energy be anything less than perfect when we can see it? And how very different is the energy of its non-organic counterpart – the energy consumed by much of the world’s population, if indeed they have access to any fruit at all.

Almost a century ago, in 1924, Rudolf Steiner, the founder of biodynamic farming, gave his series of lectures on agriculture to a group of farmers who were concerned about the general decline in soil fertility and had approached him for advice. This was long before the start of the so-called ‘green revolution’, wherein the chemicals no longer required for the military-industrial complex of the Second World War, true ‘weapons of mass destruction’, began to be recycled into agricultural use. That disastrous practice continues today on a monumentally destructive scale. What would those farmers and Steiner be thinking about soil fertility now? Let alone nutrition and how Steiner understood the spiritual life and energy connected with it.

And without water there would be no apples or people to eat them, no blue planet.

If chopping onions and leeks brings tears to your eyes (and, perhaps, biting into an organic apple brings tears of joy) these magnified images of human tears by Rose-Lynne Fisher are equally extraordinary.

The closer the close-up, the smaller the particle, the bigger and more astonishing the picture becomes.


‘Delicious Monster’ (Monstera Deliciosa) fruit emerging from its flower


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