Monday, May 2, 2016

#phenology -- right time, right place, right company

Now that there's some warmth and sunshine to take advantage of, many local woods are full of wild flowers. Trout lilies, elusive for years, finally showed themselves. Several other Spring ephemera, such as bloodroot or hepatica or rue anemone or false rue anemone, have burst into blossom recently. Photos need to be downloaded from the camera and compared to field guides since identification of wildflowers is yet another topic on which enthusiasm exceeds personal knowledge around here. Marsh marigolds have spread their seasonal gold abundantly about the wetlands. All in all it was a fun morning exploring Spring with my Better half throughout much of Pine County.

marsh marigolds in bloom
marsh marigolds in bloom
Photo by J. Harrington

The ostensible objective of the trip was to do a reconnoiter of the Kettle River at Banning State Park. The river's running bank full. The rapids are frothing and foaming and we discovered several boat launches that will be worth checking out as the water drops. Wadeable stretches that are a relatively short hike from a parking area and can be fly-fished for smallmouth bass are what we'd really like to find.

Kettle River rapids
Kettle River rapids
Photo by J. Harrington

After a long dreary Winter and a basically wet and overcast Spring, we broke out today and gave ourselves a major case of fresh air poisoning. I'm pretty sure doing some exploring for trout spots rather than trout lilies is next on our R&R agenda. That report will be coming up in a few weeks.


Elaine Goodale Eastman (1863 - 1953)

from All round the Year, Verses from Sky Farm

Not pressing close on crowded ways,
Not shrinking back from any eye,
But calm beneath the open sky,
And slow to meet our curious gaze:
In April’s hour of virgin fame
The bloodroot gives her blossom birth,
And trusts within the kindly earth
The hidden sources of her shame.
Along the teeming meadow-side,
Hard by the river-banks are seen
Her close-veined sheaths of tender green,
With generous frankness opening wide.
When lo! the secret of an hour
By throbbing April warmth unsealed,
In sudden splendor stands revealed
The glowing whiteness of the flower:
A pure large flower of simple mold,
And touched with soft peculiar bloom,
Its petals faint with strange perfume,
And in their midst a disk of gold!
O bloodroot! in thy tingling veins
The sap of life runs cold and clear;
I break thy shining stem, and fear
No conscious guilt, no lasting stains.
I brand with shame thy peerless brow,
Whose golden coronet is riven,
And cast to all the winds of heaven
Thy drifts of many-petaled snow!
Yet, ere the reckless deed appears,
Thy truth compels my heart’s disguise,
Thy beauty pains my mortal eyes,
Thy pulse-beats hammer in my ears.
I seem myself the panting earth,
The Spring within be newly born;
I feel thee from my breast uptorn --
I grapple with a larger birth.
My narrow senses downward hurled,
In upper air I blindly grope --
I strive to reach a living hope,
And blossom in the other world!
Go, struggles deep, and visions wild,
From heart and brain I set you free;
Thro’ human need I still must see
And grasp the human undefiled.
Go, wondrous flower --thy soul is mine--
My gazing cannot do thee wrong’
To me the conscious pangs belong!
To me, at last, the right divine!

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Please be kind to each other while you can.