Friday, May 9, 2014

Seasonal standards

This morning my Better Half and I headed for the Friends School Plant Sale at the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand. There were crowds and ques and one of our selections was sold out by the time we got to it, and it was cloudy and the wind was cold and raw and it didn't feel at all the way Spring is supposed to feel in Minnesota. Intrepid souls that we are, we picked a different cultivar of forsythia and then grabbed a dwarf, reflowering lilac (thanks to Walt Whitman's poem). After we got the lilac (when I was in grammar school, the Sisters of St. Joseph wouldn't let us bring lilac bouquets to school because they "made everyone sleepy."), we found the hanging basket bougainvillea we wanted and proceeded to the tabulation table then to the actual check out and then home. The Sale continues tomorrow and Sunday. Think about heading off to get some plants while wearing seasonal (warm) clothes, bring some coffee or hot chocolate enjoy a great way for mom to celebrate her day, while helping the Friends School raise funds. But—think twice before planting anything before Memorial Day, especially this year.

male rose-breasted grossbeak
male rose-breasted grossbeak   © harrington

Despite our brisk Spring weather, this week the rose-breasted gross beaks came back and today, so did the scarlet tanager. Their arrival makes me feel downright Springy and, as Richard Hunt's poem notes, brings hints of Summer. (Photos are from last year.)

male scarlet tanager
male scarlet tanager         © harrington

The Scarlet Tanager


Richard Hunt

ALL through the silent summer day
He sings “Ke-i, ke-o, ke-ay”—
A rich wild strain that sounds to me
Like bugle-notes of anarchy.
O black and burning scarlet one,        5
You flare and flicker, like the sun
Against the black void’s freezing breath:
Like life triumphant over death.
I see you burning in a tree;
From tree to tree you flame and wave:        10
You wave the blood of liberty
Against the black shroud of the brave.
You flare and flare, you call and call,
Amid the dim leaves’ emerald shade.
Your note’s a love-note after all!        15
Of love your scarlet flame is made!

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