Friday, June 21, 2013

Celebrate solstice?

photo of beardtongue flowers
© harrington
Hi! You're looking at beardtongue, a member of the snapdragon family. That helps mnemnonically because they start blooming about the same time dragonflies show up. In case you're looking for a wildflower guide book, I can tell you that Prairie Plants of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum: Including Horsetails, Ferns, Rushes, Sedges, Grasses, Shrubs, Vines, Weeds, and Wildflowers (yes, that's all one title, and yes, Minnesota wildflowers grow in Wisconsin) is rapidly becoming my favorite. [No links to Amazon since they dropped their Minnesota affiliates because of our new sales tax law. "My Minnesota" never was an affiliate, but there's a principal involved here.] Uses of beardtongue by Native Americans include toothache relief by chewing the root and rattlesnake bite antidote. I'll see if I can confirm at least the toothache part in Strength of the Earth, a guide to Ojibwe uses of native plants. Unfortunately, that book is lacking an index so finding specific plants is more than a bit of a challenge. All of this, as you no doubt have figured out already, fits into a broader effort of becoming indigenous. Although I appreciate the beauty of wildflowers, I'm also interested in their practical uses. I don't promote the idea that things should be protected and preserved if, and only if, they have a utilitarian value. The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. [Paul Ehrlich] I suspect (and hope) you also agree that it's worth preserving something if, and only if, its only use is to add to the beauty in the world. On the other hand, I strongly suspect there's much more beauty in the world than most of us take time to appreciate. I think for now I'll go find and appreciate some of the pleasures and beauties in my neighborhood. I suggest you do the same. After all, it's Summer solstice. May you all enjoy wonderful Midsummer Night's Dreams tonight and for the rest of this Summer. Thanks for listening. Come again when you can. Rants, raves and reflections served daily.