Saturday, May 28, 2016

Transitional pause #phenology

Do you remember Longfellow's poem The Children's Hour? It starts
"Between the dark and the daylight,
      When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupations, ..."
Such a pause seems also to fit May's transition into June this year, if today's weather is any measure. Most of the day has been covered by flat, gray clouds that appeared above the the early morning mist and stayed after it faded. The cool light, plus cool, damp weather creates a general level of apparent inactivity accompanied by a sense of suspended animation or Twilight Zone atmosphere. There isn't enough dark grey for the sky to be considered brooding, more like pensive, I think, while it wonders if it can muster enough energy to actually storm. It's even less clear whether the atmosphere is projecting its moods onto me, or vice versa.

Minnesota Wildflowers in bloom
from Minnesota Wildflowers data

Despite hum-drum weather, hairy vetch in the ditch joins its relatives in our fields in adding purple splashes to the yellow starbursts of hoary puccoon. The beardtongue buds look like they're ready to burst into pink blooms as soon as we, and they, get a few days of sun and warmth. Next month brings a long list of new wildflowers into bloom, almost twice as many as we saw in May. A "breather" amidst bursts of frenetic blooming and hatching is perfectly understandable. I've been known to take one or two myself.

Heavy Summer Rain 


By Jane Kenyon


The grasses in the field have toppled,
and in places it seems that a large, now
absent, animal must have passed the night.
The hay will right itself if the day

turns dry. I miss you steadily, painfully.
None of your blustering entrances
or exits, doors swinging wildly
on their hinges, or your huge unconscious
sighs when you read something sad,
like Henry Adams’s letters from Japan,
where he traveled after Clover died.

Everything blooming bows down in the rain:
white irises, red peonies; and the poppies
with their black and secret centers
lie shattered on the lawn.


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