milkweed fibre

Milkweed seeds, dressed in their silken floss. Image: Su Leslie 2017

When you watch a milkweed seed pod burst and scatter its tiny dancing seeds to the wind, it is easy to understand how nature balances the strong and the delicate, and finds finds the most elegant of solutions to the problem of continued existence.

Ragtag Daily Prompt | delicate



Hydrangea. Image: Su Leslie 2019

The Oxford Dictionary offers several definitions of delicate, including Very fine in texture or structure; of intricate workmanship or quality”, “Easily broken or damaged; fragile” and “Requiring sensitive or careful handling.”

There is much in nature that is fine and intricate. And as we humans are discovering, such things are also easily damaged, and require much more careful handling than many of the systems and institutions we have developed seem to permit.

Posted to the Lens Artists Photo Challenge |delicate




A delicate balance

"True strength is delicate." -- Louise Nevelson

“True strength is delicate.” — Louise Nevelson
Photo: Su Leslie 2013



1. Pleasing to the senses, especially in a subtle way: a delicate flavor; a delicate violin passage.
2. Exquisitely fine or dainty: delicate china.
3. Frail in constitution or health.
4. Easily broken or damaged: a kite too delicate to fly.
5. Marked by sensitivity of discrimination: a critic’s delicate perception.
6.   a. Considerate of the feelings of others.

      b. Concerned with propriety.
      c. Squeamish or fastidious.
7. Requiring tactful treatment: a delicate situation.
8. Fine or soft in touch or skill: a surgeon’s delicate touch.
9. Measuring, indicating, or responding to very small changes; precise: a delicate set of scales.
10. Very subtle in difference or distinction.
For as long as delicate flowers grow alongside roads and buildings, we have hope.

For as long as delicate flowers grow alongside roads and buildings, hope lives in my heart.
Photo: Su Leslie 2013

Rather like “eerie” which was the subject of yesterday’s post, delicate is a very nuanced word.

I’m a robust, and fairly buxom, woman (Reubens-esque on a good day) who has grown only gradually from feeling like a totally klutzy child into an adult  comfortable with, and able to celebrate, my body. I have dark eyes and (once upon a time) dark hair, and could not – under any circumstances – be described as delicate.

But delicate is a word used often to describe my gender; and in literature, art and popular culture, delicacy has been regarded (by men at any rate) as a desirable trait for women. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons for my very ambivalent relationship with the word.

There are of course some images that ” delicate” connotes with which I am comfortable; pale, fragile blooms, handcrafted glass art – or a parent holding their newborn, muscles straining to achieve a gentleness perhaps unknown.

“The heart of a man’s like that delicate weed, Which requires to be trampled on, boldly indeed Ere it gives forth the fragrance you wish to extract” — Edward G. Bulwer’Lytton.

 This post is part of Ailsa’s Travel Theme:

Here are some other posts you may like:

Travel Theme: Delicate

Travel theme: Delicate

11-1-13 Travel Theme – Delicate