Sunday, August 7, 2016

As Summer flows #phenology

On a misty, foggy morning like today's, ripening Purple Lovegrass (Eragrostis spectabilis) stands out beautifully as it collects the dew. Soon, Autumn winds will tumble the branching seed clusters across our sand plain prairie patch to collect in fence row corners and along the edges of the woods. For now, they're sitting quietly, soaking up sun, as am I and the pears ripening on the tree.

purple love grass ripening
purple love grass ripening
Photo by J. Harrington

This is not the Summer weather that makes me want to avoid doing anything because it's hot and humid. The gentle warmth makes lazing about seem like an affirmative response so I've been sitting and bird watching. Today I've seen:
  • goldfinches
  • white-breasted nuthatches
  • bluebirds
  • chickadees
  • a woodpecker
  • sparrows
  • blue jays (which sound suspiciously like the rusty hinges on our patio screen door)
  • a male cardinal
  • a crow or two
  • a hummingbird or two, plus
  • squirrels -- several gray and one red 

Minnesota River at Fort Snelling
Minnesota River at Fort Snelling
Photo by J. Harrington

Earlier, I tried googling plus searching Amazon for an anthology of river poems. I found one volume published in England, but nothing (other than a multitude of references to Spoon River Anthology) in the US except the wonderful work being published through River of Words. If any of you want to suggest either an entire volume, or specific poems, feel free. For several months now this has been an itch I've avoided scratching. It seems like building a link-list on a blog page here might be a good way to start but I don't want to reinvent that (water)wheel, just go with the flow. (Sorry) I'm thinking such an anthology might help some folks understand why Minnesota needs a water ethic and, perhaps, help move folks to adopting one. We've already included in prior postings:


Devil Track River
Devil Track River
Photo by J. Harrington

We've posted other poems about water and ponds and ... but, for now, the focus is on rivers and other flowing water (creeks, rills etc.). Here's today's addition to the list above.

The Niagara River

As though
the river were
a floor, we position
our table and chairs
upon it, eat, and 
have conversation.
As it moves along,
we notice—as
calmly as though
dining room paintings 
were being replaced—
the changing scenes 
along the shore. We
do know, we do 
know this is the
Niagara River, but 
it is hard to remember
what that means.


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