Friday, May 19, 2017

Flower Moon in May #phenology

The Anishinaabe have named May's moon waabigwanii-giizis -- Flower Moon or Blossom Moon. It's easy to see why, although leafing out moon could also be a contender in our North Country. As we noted in prior postings this month, trout lilies, Spring beauty, trillium and other local wildflowers are blooming profusely. Columbine is starting to display its red flowers but hasn't yet hit its stride. In fact, May has about 4 times as many wildflowers in bloom as does April, but only half as many as will be found next month in June. I continue to be surprised that July is the peak month for wildflower blooms. I just don't think of July that way, never have.

a field of beardtongue to anticipate
a field of beardtongue to anticipate
Photo by J. Harrington

One plant that I've noticed growing rapidly during the past couple of weeks is beardtongue. Its pink-lavender-purple flowers could / should open as, or shortly after, we reach June, unless our cooler, wetter than "normal" weather continues. Penstemon is a native plant, unlike dame's rocket which we can expect to erupt soon along many roadsides in the area. One day soon I want to return to an exploration of invasive species considerations, since climate change and human behavior are likely to continue to facilitate the spread of nonnatives. Once, our earth had an oxygen-free atmosphere that didn't support humans. Our understanding of the earth's atmosphere and evolution of life on earth continues to evolve. Some invasive species are no doubt noxious and disruptive to the existing ecosystems. but change is a constant in nature. If we want to control invasive species impacts, then we should focus on controlling their transport. Remember the old "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?" Global trade will rely on physical transport until we've all got Star Trek's replicators. That would be a flowering of technology, right?

columbine in bloom
columbine in bloom
Photo by J. Harrington

From Blossoms

By Li-Young Lee

From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward   
signs painted Peaches.

From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into   
the round jubilance of peach.

There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

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Please be kind to each other while you can.