Sunday Things: Blanchir

Driftwood Tells Its Story
By Annette Marie Hyder

Buoyed by salt and hollowed out by time,
I am driftwood
and I have made my way to shore.
Would you know yet more?
The bones of me sing upon the wind.
I have become a flute, a type of carved out reed
an intimate piece of musical instrument art —
hand-crafted by the sea.
My stag horns and fluers-de-lis rear wildly towards the sky
while my pale feet dip among the wavelet’s small sighs.
My secret is imbued in every grain of me.
My great beauty comes from having drowned
but come back from the deeps.
I have weathered storms
and I have left a world of green behind.
Leaves and roots mean nothing now
to the likes of me
but the color I seemingly left behind
is hidden steeped in me
and when I burn upon a fire
new colors are set free.
Grass green and sky blue
and dancing yellow citrine
bloom like flowers as they flame
from my wan and twisted branches
by the roaring sea.

The beach down the road

When I was growing up in Florida, after my mom married her second husband, we lived down the road from the beach. My younger brother and I could often be found wandering the seagrape crowded paths and meandering our way beside the waterline. Along that beach were great walls of towering driftwood that looked like hedges, tangled mazes of thorn-like beauty.

Have you ever wondered why driftwood burns with uncommonly beautiful colors? Driftwood will burn with flames of
blue, green, amethyst, and yellow. This is because driftwood absorbs the
salt from the seawater
it has been drenched in and the salt causes the startling and beautiful
variations on what we think the color of flame is supposed to be.

About.com Chemistry explains, “The colored fire comes from excitation of the metal salts that have soaked into the wood.” (Source)

Stripped down to the bare bones of what it once was, its limbs bleached of color and bare of ornamentation, driftwood exposes the elegance beneath the surface. Tides and tribulations notwithstanding, rare beauty can come from great adversity.


Composition notes

Blanchir is Old French. Middle English blaunchen, to make white, is from Old French blanchir, from blanche, feminine of blanc, white.

Fluers-de-lis is the plural of fluer-de-lis. The fleur-de-lis or fleur-de-lys (plural: fleurs-de-lis) is a stylized lily (in French, fleur means flower, and lis means lily)
or iris that is used as a decorative design or symbol. It may be at
one and the same time, religious, political, dynastic, artistic,
emblematic, and symbolic.” (Source: Wikipedia
)