Friday, August 29, 2014

Summer's golden days

This is the time of year when the local road sides fill with yellow flowers: goldenrod, sunflowers (mostly Maximilian, I think), black-eyed Susans, and cut-leaf coneflowers, some of each sometimes topped by the flame of a monarch butterfly. Less frequent, swamp milkweed shows its pink to pale purple flowers, as does something else with purple tones I've only seen when driving by at 70 miles an hour and haven't been able to identify. (One of the disadvantages of our high speed society: speed and wildflower identification are a tough combination, also on flying monarchs that float too close to the car.)

Black-eyed Susans with some spikes of curly dock
Photo by J. Harrington

Yesterday, the ninth chipmunk of the season wandered into our Hav-a-Hart trap. I've been releasing them more than two miles away so I don't think I'm getting repeat captures. Over the Winter I may have to research techniques for marking chipmunks the way bee keepers do with queen bees. Heavy gloves and dipping their tails in blaze orange paint? A small caliber paintball gun?

Late afternoon brought one of the local does and her twin, almost grown, fawns foraging on the hillside. They might have been looking for early acorns that had dropped. This photo is from several weeks ago.

mid-Summer doe with fawns
Photo by J. Harrington

I doubt we could apply this approach to non-ferrous mining in all of northern Minnesota, but I really like the creativity involved, as I enjoy the creativity with which Tara Bray captures the ennui that can arise at this time of year.


By Tara Bray 

I climbed the roll of hay to watch the heron
in the pond. He waded a few steps out,
then back, thrusting his beak under water,
pulling it up empty, but only once.
Later I walked the roads for miles, certain
he’d be there when I returned. How is it for him,
day after day, his brittle legs rising
from warm green scum, his graceful neck curled,
damp in the bright heat? It’s a dull world.
Every day, the same roads, the sky,
the dust, the barn caving into itself,
the tin roof twisted and scattered in the yard.
Again, the bank covered with oxeye daisy
that turns to spiderwort, to chicory,
and at last to goldenrod. Each year, the birds—
thick in the air and darting in wild numbers—
grow quiet, the grasses thin, the light leaves
earlier each day. The heron stood
stone-still on my spot when I returned.
And then, his wings burst open, lifting the steel-
blue rhythm of his body into flight.
I touched the warm hay. Hoping for a trace
of his wild smell, I cupped my hands over
my face: nothing but the heat of fields
and skin. It wasn’t long before the world
began to breathe the beat of ordinary hours,
stretching out again beneath the sky.

Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.

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