This balsam root, Balsamorhiza deltoidea, sprouting from an earthy corner of a cement courtyard at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, California, was a way to direct attention past the surrounding cement, both upwards and down:
Up to the sky in swinging motions, your gaze mimicking the movement of searching flower heads.
And downwards to the land beneath our feet, by evoking the deep, large, edible and medicinal taproot that gives this plant its name.
If you imagine this locally native medicinal wildflower's powerful taproot reaching far into the ground here at the Lesher Center For The Arts, the image as a whole becomes a metaphor of the culture housed here: place-based, yet reaching higher; occurring spontaneously, but a precious gift.
Because the arts are both about roots, and about reaching beyond them. And like the balsamroot, culture can both nourish and heal our bruised souls, in unpredictable wild ways.