Saturday, September 24, 2016

Holdouts #phenology

holdout coneflowers and seed heads
holdout coneflowers and seed heads
Photo by J. Harrington

The front flower garden is down to a few holdouts: a couple of Blue Vervain Anise Hyssop blossoms, some three or four Black-eyed Susans, and a few cone flower cultivars. The generally bleak appearance matches today's weather with its overcast sky, East wind blowing around the tumble heads of purple love grass and sending flurries of leaves descending from local black cherry trees.

blossom of a Wild Bergamot or a ???
blossom of a Wild Bergamot or a ???
Photo by J. Harrington

In the midst of those harbingers of "What Comes Next," I was startled to see a bright pink(?) sign of new life alongside the road. There's only one flower and, as near as I can tell, only one plant. Until I saw the flower's blossom, I wouldn't have noticed the plant. Now that it's been "discovered," I can't find it in any of my usual field guides. I think it looks a lot, but not exactly, like Wild Bergamot. Since I haven't identified it yet, I'll keep repeating to myself "Life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved." (Take your pick of potential sources for that quotation.) I also need to spend some time working on improving the depth of field in closeup photos. I couldn't get an in focus closeup of the flower, stem and leaves with any combination of settings that occurred to me.

leaves and stem of a Wild Bergamot or a ???
leaves and stem of a Wild Bergamot or a ???
Photo by J. Harrington

Field Guide

No one I ask knows the name of the flower
we pulled the car to the side of the road to pick
and that I point to dangling purple from my lapel.

I am passing through the needle of spring
in North Carolina, as ignorant of the flowers of the south
as the woman at the barbecue stand who laughs
and the man who gives me a look as he pumps the gas

and everyone else I ask on the way to the airport
to return to where this purple madness is not seen
blazing against the sober pines and rioting along the
   roadside.

On the plane, the stewardess is afraid she cannot answer
my question, now insistent with the fear that I will leave
the province of this flower without its sound in my ear.

Then, as if he were giving me the time of day, a passenger
looks up from his magazine and says wisteria.


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