Thursday, February 23, 2017

Phenology of anticipation

As I drove past the Carlos Avery WMA Sunrise River pools today, it looked as though many of the tundra swans and Canada geese had moved on, probably to the north, but I know of no way to confirm that. The latest weather forecasts have the impending snow storm on a more southerly or southeasterly track. We won't know until it's actually over whether or not we dodged a bullet this time.

Spring waterfowl: here yesterday, gone today
Spring waterfowl: here yesterday, gone today
Photo by J. Harrington

The extended spell of unseasonably warm weather that we've enjoyed has made me want to replace  poinsettias left over from Christmas with something much more Spring-like. There is now a pair of white hyacinth plants, not yet in bloom, sitting on top of the piano. While grocery shopping, my mind latched on to a remnant of an old poem, sort of like an ear worm. To silence it, or at least quiet it down, I followed advice I remember my mother sharing when I was young. She, more than once, told me an abbreviated version of

Hyacinths to Feed Thy Soul -

by Sadi

IF OF THY MORTAL GOODS thou art bereft,

And from thy slender store two loaves alone to thee are left,

Sell one, and with the dole

Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.

hyacinths to feed thy soul
hyacinths to feed thy soul
Photo by J. Harrington

On a somewhat less romantic front, but still having to do with Spring and plants, I also bought a tool that I hope will facilitate pulling buckthorn after the ground thaws. Previous efforts using rope have often resulted in the rope pulling up and over the sapling stem. The new tool is a heavy-duty triple chain. I'm not sure if it will work well but have accepted the fact that the only way to know is by using it. I look forward to future postings describing unqualified successes. I'll be happy if it just works and no one gets hurt and nothing gets broken except buckthorn. I have this crazy fantasy that, if we get it pulled and keep it from reestablishing itself, we might be able to create a small woodlot wild flower garden. Cross your fingers, please.

Spring Pools

These pools that, though in forests, still reflect
The total sky almost without defect,
And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver,
Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone,
And yet not out by any brook or river,
But up by roots to bring dark foliage on.
The trees that have it in their pent-up buds
To darken nature and be summer woods---
Let them think twice before they use their powers
To blot out and drink up and sweep away
These flowery waters and these watery flowers
From snow that melted only yesterday.

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