Friday, July 15, 2016

Wolfing down Summer #phenology

some human and canine "nannies" with The Pups at WSC
some human and canine "nannies" with The Pups at WSC
Photo by J. Harrington

I can now claim to have been surrounded by a pack of ravenously hungry wolves and walked away from the encounter unscathed. Last night the Better Half [BH] accompanied me (or vice versa, but I drove) to the Wildlife Science Center [WSC] to listen to Mike Link and Kate Crowley read from their book Meandering, Notes of a Mississippi Riverlorian. We, actually the BH (I have to reimburse her), bought a copy of the book and made a small donation to WSC to help finance their move to a new home for the pack. Our hearts were thoroughly softened by the time we spent prior to the reading, when we visited with this year's fifteen wolf pups who were nannied by several human staff and even more dog nannies.

Blue Vervain blooming
Blue Vervain blooming
Photo by J. Harrington

Closer to home, Blue Vervain is in bloom, has been for several days. Maybe it's my eyes, but most of the blue vervain that I see, in real life and in photos, looks to me like it's purple, not blue. Of course, many time the Minnesota Vikings "purple" game jerseys look blue to me in certain lights. I suppose that, since purple is a combination of blue and red, my confusion is to be expected. As written in Prairie Plants of the University of Wisconsin Arboretum, when the blooms have reached the top of their spikes, "according to old timers, the first frost will occur." Locally, at Wild River State Park, we can expect, with a 50% probability, the first freeze sometime in the third week of September.

pups searching for kibble
pups searching for kibble
Photo by J. Harrington

If you haven't visited the WSC, consider adding it to this year's bucket list, and stop by before we get to that first frost, whenever it occurs. See if watching the pups for awhile doesn't loosen your purse strings and encourage you to make a contribution to help Move The Pack.


By Heid E. Erdrich

Dogs so long with us we forget
that wolves allowed as how
they might be tamed and sprang up
all over the globe, with all humans,
all at once, like a good idea.
So we tamed our own hearts.
Leashed them or sent them to camp’s edge.
Even the shrinks once agreed, in dreams
our dogs are our deepest selves.
Ur Dog, a Siberian, dogged
the heels of nomads,
then turned south to Egypt
to keep Pharaoh safe.
Seemed strange, my mother sighed,
when finally we got a hound,
. . . a house without a dog.
Her world never knew
a yard un-dogged and thus
unlocked. Sudden intrusions
impossible where yappers yap.
Or maybe she objected
to empty armchairs,
rooms too quiet
without the beat
of tail thump or paw thud.
N’de, Ojibwe say, my pet,
which also suggests ode, that spot in the chest,
the part you point to when you pray,
or say with great feeling—great meaning,
meaning dog-love goes that deep.

Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.