Friday, September 5, 2014

Meteorological Autumn trumps Astrological Summer

Are you enjoying Autumn, 2014? The local temperature this morning dropped into the mid 50's. I resisted the urge to turn on the heat. The rest of the weekend is forecast to be sunny and slightly warmer. Meanwhile, I've warmed the cockles of my black Irish heart (as they say) by identifying the pinkish-purplish flower that was noted earlier this past Summer as occurring in scattered local sites. I think we have some fireweed growing here.

roadside fireweed in Chisago County
Photo by J. Harrington

I doubt I'll be able to identify it at interstate speeds, but on local roads, yes. I noticed that, according to the Forest Service, fireweed "... is used for revegetation of mined land. In Alberta, fireweed successfully establishes on mine spoils in alpine and subalpine habitats." Unless I give up my interest in encouraging mining in Minnesota to become more sustainable (not likely) that information may be useful some day. It does raise the question of whether it would establish on mine spoils in locations not subalpine. Despite the winters on the Iron Range, I'm not sure it qualifies as alpine or subalpine. Have you noticed how every answer often just seems to generate another question? On the other hand, I've noticed that fireweed is not so rare as to not have a poem named after it.

Fireweed

By C. Dale Young 

in memory of amy clampitt  

A single seedling, camp follower

         of arson...

Follower of ashes; follower
of the bleached-out, burned-out
cascade of buildings, lotfuls

of whitened soil speckled with debris
let down by a gutted church
still aspiring to an ether-blue sky

centuries gone; follower
of scripts apotheosized into smoke,
notes lifted into air by flames

that all but threatened the entire lane
with the silence we call a bed
of dirt; follower of the match,

the instigator here and abroad,
the matutinal magnifying glass
focusing light into unwitting

summer grass, into cruciform twigs;
follower of the caveat
ignored because it was too small;

follower of the fourth-oldest dream—
the landscape burning and burning.


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