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Contrasts: Angel or Devil?

This photo has been my screensaver ever since I came back from a trip to Jamaica in 2009.  It was a trip with my closest friends, a trip that still holds so many poignant memories.  I am not a photographer, but I took this photo on a hike through a coffee farm nestled in the famous Blue Mountains.  We had heard about the tragedies, challenges, and vigilante world that make up the world of coffee in Jamaica.  We had held our heart in our throats as we traversed a single narrow road along unprotected cliffs to reach our destination.  We had encountered sun, rain, mud slides, and then an eerie fog.  We learned at the feet of the coffee matriarch that still owned this coffee farm, sipped her precious coffee made for us by her hand, and explored her world.

I love this photo because it is one of great contrast.  At first glance it looks like a pretty floral composition, until you discover that it is a photo of the blooms from the Belladonna tree, also known as Angel's Trumpet (Brugmansia) that may tempt you with it's intoxicating display, but all parts of the plant contain dangerous levels of poison and may be fatal if ingested by humans or animals, including livestock and pets. Legend says that the aroma of the flowers can induce sleep and royalty used to place the bloom under their pillow to aid in their night's rest.  (No wonder so many died mysteriously in their sleep!)  The fog and the mist in this photo add to the mystery of this plant, whose blooms only last a single day, but it's nectar either carries a lethal dose or an aphrodisiac adventure depending on the toxicity of the plant.  Think of it as nature's roulette.  When I look at this plant, and this photo, I am reminded to beware of pretty packages, you can look but don't touch, and be happy with a fitful, sleepless night.  At least you wake up in the morning.