Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Seeds of change #phenology

Each day for the past few days, another milk weed pod has split and opened its seeds to Autumn breezes. The milkweed meadow looks more powder-puffy every day. Do you find it hard to believe that a whole milkweed plant for next year is contained in such tiny packages? Autumn milkweed, almost as much as anything else, is enough to make me believe in fairies. Are they responsible for the late-blooming primroses that were joined yesterday by a pair of purple vetch flowers?

Autumn milkweed
Autumn milkweed
Photo by J. Harrington
More and more blue jays are showing up in the neighborhood this week, but I've not noticed any hummingbirds in the last day or so. It's possible, maybe even probable, that one will visit the feeder shortly after this has been posted to the blog, or, perhaps not:

"By mid-September, essentially all of the Ruby-throated at feeders are migrating through from farther north..."

I could almost start to believe that the chickadees know the hummers have gone and are intentionally teasing me by briefly landing on the nectar feeder before perching at the sunflower seeds. Seasonal changes around here are very much a "today they're there, then they're not" kind of arrangement, the way today's sunshine and warmth is tempered by a cool breeze and the quality of light shifts toward tawny, golden tones instead of high Summer's hot chrome yellow.

Milkweed

by Philip Levine


Remember how unimportant
they seemed, growing loosely
in the open fields we crossed
on the way to school. We
would carve wooden swords
and slash at the luscious trunks
until the white milk started
and then flowed. Then we'd
go on to the long day
after day of the History of History
or the tables of numbers and order
as the clock slowly paid
out the moments. The windows
went dark first with rain
and then snow, and then the days,
then the years ran together and not
one mattered more than
another, and not one mattered.

Two days ago I walked
the empty woods, bent over,
crunching through oak leaves,
asking myself questions
without answers. From somewhere
a froth of seeds drifted by touched
with gold in the last light
of a lost day, going with
the wind as they always did.




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