Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A mosaic of communities

photo of WIld River prairie community
© harrington
Welcome. Thanks for the visit. We're almost finished with the bioregional quiz Where you at. Today's question is "18.    What are the major plant associations in your region?" I'm operating on the assumption that a major plant association is comparable to what the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources refers to as a plant community. "A native plant community is a group of native plants that interact with each other and with their environment in ways not greatly altered by modern human activity or by introduced organisms. These groups of native plant species form recognizable units, such as oak savannas, pine forests, or marshes, that tend to repeat over space and time." In my region, the Chisago County portion of the St Croix Valley and Anoka Sand Plain we have, according to the DNR, Dry Oak Forest; Mesic Oak Forest; Maple Basswood Forest; Lowland Hardwood Forest; White Pine-Hardwood Forest; Barrens Oak Savanna; Floodplain Forest; Hardwood Swamps; Mixed Hardwood Seepage Swamp; Black Ash Swamp; Wet Meadow; Rich Fen; Dry Cliff; and, Moist Cliff. Robinson Jeffers nicely, I think, captures the mosaic of plant communities in this poem (remember the "Dry Cliff").

Oh Lovely Rock

By Robinson Jeffers
We stayed the night in the pathless gorge of Ventana Creek, up the east fork.
The rock walls and the mountain ridges hung forest on forest above our heads, maple and redwood,
Laurel, oak, madrone, up to the high and slender Santa Lucian firs that stare up the cataracts
Of slide-rock to the star-color precipices.

                                                                  We lay on gravel and kept a little camp-fire for warmth.
Past midnight only two or three coals glowed red in the cooling darkness; I laid a clutch of dead bay-leaves
On the ember ends and felted dry sticks across them and lay down again. The revived flame
Lighted my sleeping son’s face and his companion’s, and the vertical face of the great gorge-wall
Across the stream. Light leaves overhead danced in the fire’s breath, tree-trunks were seen: it was the rock wall
That fascinated my eyes and mind. Nothing strange: light-gray diorite with two or three slanting seams in it,
Smooth-polished by the endless attrition of slides and floods; no fern nor lichen, pure naked if I were
Seeing rock for the first time. As if I were seeing through the flame-lit surface into the real and bodily
And living rock. Nothing strange...I cannot
Tell you how strange: the silent passion, the deep nobility and childlike loveliness: this fate going on
Outside our fates. It is here in the mountain like a grave smiling child. I shall die, and my boys
Will live and die, our world will go on through its rapid agonies of change and discovery; this age will die,
And wolves have howled in the snow around a new Bethlehem: this rock will be here, grave, earnest, not passive: the energies
That are its atoms will still be bearing the whole mountain above: and I, many packed centuries ago,
Felt its intense reality with love and wonder, this lonely rock.

Thanks for listening. Come again when you can. Rants, raves and reflections served here daily. Poetry served frequently. Tomorrow's question is so basic that I'm not going to post it in advance. See you then?