calendar

calendar

if i got good enough at observing my surroundings, i suppose i would never need a calendar. oh look, the first goat’s beard seed heads have puffed into existence, but there are still a lot of unopened buds. if i could add to that bit of observation the fact that the bull thistles are just starting to open, but haven’t bloomed, and that the crown vetch is in full bloom, and the raspberry blossoms have fallen but the raspberry fruits are hard and dark, and that the wild strawberries are fruiting, and that the cattails are about head high, and the dock plants are waist high with seed heads that look like millet, and that the tree frogs and green frogs are singing nightly but their songs are starting to wane, and the crickets haven’t begun to sing at all yet, and the sleeves of garlic mustard seeds have developed but are still green instead of brown, and that the pulpits of the jack-in-the-pulpits have collapsed, but the seed heads have just started to form, and that the blue flag irises in the shallows of the lake are in their full heavenly glory. if i could put all this together, i bet i could tell you, without the help of google or a calendar, that, yes, it is indeed, june 17.

goat’s-beard (Tragopogon pratensis)

lake johanna, arden hills, minnesota

  • janice says:

    That’s the calendar I want to use!

    reply

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fallen warrior

fallen warrior

this bird reminds me of 19th century photo portraits of native american warriors and chiefs. there was often something a little bit defiant and unbowed in their expressions, and yet something so sad in the suggestion that they could be summarized and contained in two dimensions, alone, on a chair. i feel that same sadness for this blue jay, who should be laughing at other birds from high perches, and flashing between balsam trees with steady wingbeats. not straining to hold his dignity together, on the side of a road, with his beak held high, and blood on his wingfeather.

blue jay

tanglewood drive, shoreview, minnesota

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all of the lights

all of the lights

i hope that in some realm i give off as much light in death as this blue jay wing.

blue jay wing

tanglewood drive, shoreview, minnesota

  • Elizabeth says:

    Always sad to see a dead bird but it’s a gorgeous color against the background…

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  • Janice says:

    Absolutely gorgeous photo of the wing. My relationship with jay has always been through the ear — listening to his noisy screeches; I never paid attention to his beauty.

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on learning the names of things

on learning the names of things

i know this is crown vetch. i know it is not cow vetch because it is shaped like a little crown. i know it is invasive. i know it is not native. i know i shouldn’t love it, but i do. and i love it because i know its name. i love it because it covers hillsides in early summer, and when i walk by them, by the mere fact of my knowing the name crown vetch, i walk among friends.

common crownvetch

saint paul, minnesota

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swampy

swampy

i asked my husband to dig up a cattail for me this afternoon and try to get part of the rhizome. after several failed efforts in knee high water with a spade, he took off his gloves and reached under the water to pull one up by hand. it worked, although the tuberous rhizome that fed so many native people in the northern hemisphere for so many centuries stayed mostly under the surface with this cattail’s neighbors. still, i love the reminder that most plants are only half exposed, and the parts we can see are usually matched by equally long root systems out of our sight. at lunchtime, steve and i ate poached eggs on toast. i asked him how they tasted, and he said they tasted great, but for some reason they had a swampy sewer gas smell. hmmm. so weird, i said.

cattail with root system

turtle lake, shoreview, minnesota

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