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
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.
saint paul, minnesota
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
i have been reading the book sapiens, for the second time now (thank you, book group!), and i am struck again by the fact that what our human language first did to differentiate us from our great ape forebears, as well as our one-time brothers and sisters, the neanterthals and denisovans, was to allow us to gossip. gossip let us keep tabs on our fellow humans, which in the end was more important as an organizing principal of society than the simple ability to cry danger when a predator was near. i just spent the evening with my mom, cooking an old family recipe, and talking about our immediate family, our extended family, our high school friends, our adult friends, those who stayed together and those who broke up, those who got married for love and those who got married with a bun in the oven. previously i would have thought of it as a lightweight, gabby evening of no particular consequence. but now i realize i was actually fulfilling my destiny as a member of sapiens species of the genus homo. apparently knowing that grandma eva never forgave paul muntean and jimmy capetti for accusing her of stealing toilet paper from the church, which she would never do, was not merely gossip, but rather a genetic predisposition. see you soon, mom. save up some good stories.
juniper branch with berries (Juniperus virginiana)
rice creek trail, shoreview, minnesota
“reaching out” has become one of my least favorite business-speak neologisms. reaching out used to mean offering someone deep emotional support. you reached out to someone in their time of need. now you suggest that julie reach out to justin to see if he can reschedule the skype conference from wednesday to thursday. and then what you do after that, but don’t get me started, is you “circle back” to julie to see if she did, in fact, “reach out.” on the other hand, i can get sort of excited about a wild grape tendril, at the extremity of the growing vine, reaching out delicately for a branch to hold onto that it has not yet found.
wild grape vine tendril
turtle lake, shoreview, minnesota