Several times over the past Summer, I've noted our roadside field seemed to be full of milkweed plants without any flowers. It would appear that I need to improve my observation skills, to learn not only to pay attention, but to pay close attention. Have you noticed how easy it can be to spot a bird or an animal when it moves? Well, with milkweeds, if the leaves and stems are moving in a breeze, so are any flowers. They don't stand out against a still background. To be honest, I did look closely at some plants, but only those nearest where the dogs and I walk regularly. The plants with flowers were further out in the field. At least that's where the seed pods that caught my eye developed and burst.
post-flower milkweed seeds
I noticed them a few days ago as I was driving past the field on an afternoon errand. The westerly sun illuminated a light puff of something that at first I thought was probably Goat's beard. Since I hadn't seen milkweed flowers, it couldn't be milkweed seeds, or could it? When I returned from my errand, I traipsed into the field. As I came closer, I saw milkweed pods bursting with seeds. Yesterday I managed to get some photos. I feel better about that field but still wonder why we didn't then see more monarchs on it. Or, did I miss observing those too? I'll never know.
a clump of milkweed seeds
- HERE in a quiet and dusty room they lie,
- Faded as crumbled stone or shifting sand,
- Forlorn as ashes, shrivelled, scentless, dry--
- Meadows and gardens running through my hand.
- Dead that shall quicken at the call of Spring,
- Sleepers to stir beneath June's magic kiss,
- Though birds pass over, unremembering,
- And no bee seek here roses that were his.
- In this brown husk a dale of hawthorn dreams,
- A cedar in this narrow cell is thrust
- That will drink deeply of a century's streams,
- These lilies shall make summer on my dust.
- Here in their safe and simple house of death,
- Sealed in their shells a million roses leap;
- Here I can blow a garden with my breath,
- And in my hand a forest lies asleep.
- Muriel Stuart
Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.