Just like Sherlock Holmes, I've cleverly figured out that before any plant could be safely and effectively put to use, it would need to be accurately identified. A great aid in this, better than any field guide since it provides real plants with labels (and a representation of Frances Densmore), is the Minnesota Goose Garden up near Sandstone. We've visited in late Autumn and again in early Spring and learned something worthwhile each time we've been there, including how sometimes a plant can look different than it does even in the best set of photographs.
- Plants as food
- Plants as medicine
- Plants used in dyes
- Plants used as charms
- Plants used in useful and decorative arts
|"The earth is what we all have in common." ~Wendell Berry|
Photo by J. Harrington
There's at least one other fundamental reason that makes it worthwhile to observe phenology. It comes from one of my favorite writers, Wendell Berry, who wrote "The Earth is what we all have in common." [pictured above on the parking lot wall at St. Croix Falls library] Not everyone sees it that way and I've learned that I enjoy the company of those who do more than that of those who don't, who see the earth only as an aggregation of natural resources to be exploited rather than as home. Phenology becomes a way to meet others who share values I find important and satisfying to live by. For a very related perspective on these themes, read, or reread, Robert Traver's Testament of a Fisherman.
Now, instead of writing about phenology, let me note that yellow hawkweed is blooming, yesterday's wishing Spring "au devoir" seems premature in today's 60ish temperatures, and I'm grateful for readers who gently point us in a more correct direction when we mistakenly label one of our "discoveries" incorrectly. Thanks, Molly. I fixed yesterday's
The Peace of Wild ThingsWhen despair for the world grows in meand I wake in the night at the least soundin fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,I go and lie down where the wood drakerests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.I come into the peace of wild thingswho do not tax their lives with forethoughtof grief. I come into the presence of still water.And I feel above me the day-blind starswaiting with their light. For a timeI rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
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Please be kind to each other while you can.