Thistle Do.

thistleWhen I was four or five years old I had a weird fascination with thistles. I even tried to grow a thistle by sticking it in a flowerpot with some dirt where it died almost immediately. I’m not sure what it was I liked about them but I think it’s because they were distinctive, easy to identify, and such a badass plant. I could almost hear them talking and they always sounded tough. Thistles, I thought, could push their way in anywhere and with those spiky leaves.

I’m talking about the American thistle, by the way, which is a little bit different from the Scottish thistle, although the same idea applies. You wouldn’t want to step on either one barefoot, although I still liked thistles even after stepping on several in my bare feet. I always figured it was my fault for intruding on their space.

When I look at thistles now I still see a badass plant. Everything will flourish under the right conditions but thistles occupy spaces other plants don’t want. And I see something that keeps coming back regardless of what anyone else thinks. And I see something that from a distance might seem ugly because some people don’t want it there but that when examined closely has profound beauty.

That metaphor may be a bit of a stretch, but then beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


Inspiration, of course, takes many forms.



Facebook Comments


  1. Ann Koplow

    I hope thistle do as a comment, Chris: I think I like you because you’re distinctive, easy to identify, and such a badass blogger.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’ll do very nicely. That comment has made my whole week, although it’s still early yet so it might just make my entire month.

  2. Margot

    I would love to put the contraption in the last picture on my front porch. On the wall next to it would be a sign which reads “No solicitors or people who want to talk about religion. Please leave any reading materials below the vase. Under no circumstances should you knock on the door. (Our dog’s bite is actually worse than his bark). You should know that you are being filmed and recorded. Have a blessed day. xoxo The Peace of the Lord Be with You.”

    P.S. The peace of the lord part is not meant to be sarcastic—I actually will say it today at church and mean it. I think that it must really suck to be either be a door to door sales person or to go around trying to convert people. There’s a lot of people knocking on doors here in the not so deep south (Kentucky). And it’s considered rude here to just shut the door on them mid-sentence like we did out in the west.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That contraption is rather large–maybe I should have included something to give you an idea of the scale of the thing. You’d have to have a pretty big porch to put it on. It’s also metal. A real thistle can jab you pretty badly but the metal version is covered with shivs, and I’m not just saying that because it’s fun to say “shiv”. Now that I mention it though a large thistle covered with shivs would be an ideal way to tell solicitors not to chivy you.
      I hope it’s not rude that I won’t open the door for solicitors of any kind. In fact I’ve been known to let an elevator close in a lawyer’s face.

  3. Sarah

    I had a super busy week, so I’m just catching up on my blog reading! I wish so much that I’d taken a picture of what must be the biggest thistle in the history of thistles. Todd and I bought a house in Buffalo and sold it exactly one year later. The reason? A super thistle. No, there was more to it than that. For some reason it never occurred to us that living on the opposite end of the world from where we own a home could be problematic. There was a misunderstanding with the lawn service, and no one mowed or weeded for at least two months before we came home for the summer. Our neighbors must have LOVED us. We pulled in and the first thing we saw was a thistle that was, I kid you not, bigger than my husband and I put together. This thing hadn’t just flourished. It had pulled up a seat at the throne and taken over our property. Anyway, I wish I had a picture to share. You might just have been Team Thistle if you had to pick sides for who got to own our home. 🙂

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That thistle must have been pretty spectacular. They get huge–my parents moved when I was four and the first day we moved into the new house the backyard hadn’t been mowed or weeded in weeks but I went out anyway and stepped on a monster thistle with my bare feet. At least the one in your yard had put up stalks so you could see it. When they’re just a rosette on the ground it’s like they’re lying in wait to be stepped on.


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