Monday, April 30, 2007

Discerning the Violet


I went on a wild edibles hike, with the terrifically funny and extremely knowledgeable Steve Brill.

"You can eat blue violets and white violets," he said. "Stay away from yellow violets. They can make you sick. If the flowers aren't up yet, you can tell the difference by the leaf. The yellow violet leaf isn't quite as heart-shaped."

And so it went with a lot of other wild edibles. This plant is good, but watch out for its look-alike, which will make you sick (or worse, kill you).

It occurred to me that temptation is like this. It presents itself as a look-alike to what is good. If we take a moment to discern, though, we find that it is less heart-shaped than the real thing.

For more on my Wild Edibles Hike, visit my other blog

Blue Violets photo by L.L. Barkat.
Seedlings Invitation: If you write a post related to this post and Link It Back Here, let me know and I'll link to yours.


Eating Violets

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Blogger Lara said...

Okay, that's profound.

That's also why I don't try eating anything wild (I have a hard enough time remembering which of the plants in my own garden are weeds, let alone remembering look-alike wild edibles). Too many memories of my mom saying, "don't eat those little red berries. They'll make you SICK!". I might try them if I had an experienced guide like you did.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Every Square Inch said...


thanks for your post...cleverly working it into a commentary on one way temptations work in our lives - by presenting as a lookalike to what is good or perhaps best.

And, unfortunately, our wayward hearts take that bait far too often.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

Excellent insight! But doesn’t it seem odd that there are blue violets, and white violets and those nasty yellow violets. Hey, I’m no horticulturalist, but what ever happened to violet violets? I’m sure the answer has something to do with the fall, and that in the Garden of Eden the violets all had purple hues. And there were no dandelions. Or poodles. But even then, there was temptation and the non-edible.

3:50 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Good thoughts, L.L.! If only people would believe it. Thank God for his grace. But the devastation that is done. If only Proverbs, etc. (including Jesus himself) was believed! (i'm reeling over something going on, so probably I don't see as straight as "I" do, normally)

5:49 PM  
Blogger christianne said...

Ooooh, I loved that last line about temptation not being quite as heart-shaped as the real thing. Because temptation was never meant to inhabit the molds of our hearts that only the real thing was made to fit.

And I'm with Musing Mom that I avoid even the thought of doing as you're doing for fear that I'll get killed. :)

6:27 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

A Musing... why thank you. How sweet of you to think so. I definitely have my mother's red-berry warning in mind too, but I find this so wonderfully liberating to be able to recognize where God's good food gifts truly are.

Every Square... ah, yes. Why do we take the bait? What makes a temptation tempting?

Craver... good point about violet violets. Technically, the blue ones are violet! Oh, now, there were dandelions in the Garden, but Adam and Eve were happy to eat them. And the non-edible... what a great observation. That ole Tree of Knowledge, plucked. Do you think it was poison though? Do you think they could have actually eaten it at some point, without consequence?

Ted... grace is good. It woos back our hearts, and heals them.

Christianne... I wondered how people would be creative with that last line. I do so like your reading... of our hearts not really being shaped for temptation's inhabitance (is that a word?). Now, you could easily eat wild edibles in florida. All those great fruit trees, just dripping with gifts everywhere!

7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How beautifully you capture the deceptiveness of sin and temptation. How easily I fall for the yellow violets because of my self-righteousness in trying to eat violets at all!

7:38 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Not quite as heart-shaped? Well, that's definitive. What happens if you don't have all three right there to compare and contrast?
This weekend, I was shown a banana magnolia plant (I think) whose flowers smell just like bananas. Hmmm. So I popped one in my mouth. Didn't so much taste like bananas. I may knock on death's door for that one.
When I was in Czech, we would go for hikes in the mountains, and I tell you, the Czechs no more about botany and what you can eat and what's good for what than anyone I've encountered since.

8:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a good point. Things that tempt us look good sometimes but in the end they do bad things.

9:23 AM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Poison? The way I see it, this was the worst case of food poisoning the world has ever known! It ushered in physical AND spiritual death to the entire human race. I doubt that it could have ever been eaten without consequence.

Heather, you are braver than I.

I was challenged once to come up with something edible that was naturally blue. It would have been great to know about edible violets back then!

2:22 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Charity... thanks... and you must tell me what you were thinking when you said you were self-righteous to even consider eating violets at all.

Heather... it's actually not so hard as it sounds. The yellow violets have a very pointed, elongated tip (see, like the arrow of temptation that will lodge itself in its target!) And, yes, one can certainly pay a BIG price for eating the wrong wild thing. But I love that you say the Czech people know so much about botany. That's how I'd like to be. Able to eat, wherever I go.

Stephanie... do you think that tempting things ever have a "bad" side that we could see if we looked harder... or are they totally deceptive, and we have no way to resist?

Craver... tell me why you think it was poison and why we could never have eaten it under any circumstance or context. I am curious to know your thoughts. And, hey, who gave you that blue edible challenge? Maybe someone who was hoping you'd bake them a blueberry pie?

2:47 PM  
Blogger spaghettipie said...

I totally agree. I think it's easier for the devil to work that way, in disguise, rather than blatant wrong.

An edibles nature hike - now that sounds adventuresome!

3:13 PM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is related to another historical tree. What was it that made the tree deadly? Was there a chemical reaction to its molecular makeup? It really doesn’t matter. God could have said, “Don’t cross your eyes.” And to disobey Him in anything, even a silly thing like eye crossing would be the introduction of sin with the righteous judgment and devastating consequences of sin. If tasting the fruit of this tree was forbidden by the Word of God, only the Word of God could turn it around. Context never trumps Divine Precept.

Oh, and believe me when I tell you that nobody who has had my cooking would EVER ask me to bake them a blueberry pie. Most of my cooking ends up carbonized. :-(

4:24 PM  
Blogger Lloyd Irving Bradbury said...

our posion comes now without a descriptin within our food and events in our life Faith will allow us to indure but will ot save us from death

6:46 PM  
Blogger kirsten said...

I love this post, and Christianne's thoughts on the matter resonate with me. The tempting things look so very appetizing and not bad at all("the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom" - Gen 3:6) may lead to eventual death.

How very insightful - how temptation can look just a little bit like the real (and good) thing.

10:15 PM  
Blogger christianne said...

Laura, inhabitance is a beautiful word. I don't know that I care whether Webster's coins it or not . . . it works here just perfectly! :)

10:41 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Spaghetti... well, and is ALL of the temptation wrong? Just a nagging question.

Craver... okay, so I have to ask this. Did context trump divine precept in the case of Abraham going to sacrifice his son Isaac? (Hey, now, don't cross your eyes at me on this one, or I'll have to make you eat one of your own blueberry pies.)

Lloyd... welcome back. I trust the move went okay?

Kirsten... well, and could a temptation even center on the real thing? I like that you mention the fruit. I bet it was real and delicious. I'm going to suggest (sorry Craver) that it may have even been context, not the nature of the fruit, that made the difference. I wonder if they could have eaten it from the hand of God.

Christianne... thanks for the encouragement. I guess we could always put it in the Seedlings dictionary if nothing else!

10:07 AM  
Blogger spaghettipie said...

LL - I don't know. I mean, do you even call the temptation itself wrong? I'm not sure the temptation itself has the moral attributes, but rather how you decide to act in response to it. I'll have to think about that some more. What do you think?

12:51 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

James 1:14-16

14But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

15Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Here, sin is only on the agenda when the lust is birthed.

10:37 PM  
Blogger Martin Stickland said...

I think I will just stick to eating big macs!

6:05 PM  
Blogger Alison Peters said...

I liked your observation on Temptation.

Bernard Fanning (an Australian singer/songwriter) sings:
'Temptation only shows you one side of its face gotta make sure you see the other before you join the rat race'

Just thought I'd put that out there.

8:07 AM  

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