Saturday, July 8, 2017

A good Summer's day

This morning, early, the air was cool and damp. Mist rose from neighborhood ponds.Later the sun rose, brought a nice breeze that moved fluffy white clouds through a bright blue sky. It's the kind of morning I wish I knew how to "put up" in a Bell jar and save for a February desert.

misty Summer morning, Carlos Avery WMA
misty Summer morning, Carlos Avery WMA
Photo by J. Harrington

Later in the day, the pile of pulled buckthorn grew despite heat and humidity, and deer flies. Once the larger plants have been pulled using the tractor and chains, we'll mow what's left and avoid, as much as we can, ground cover and phlox plants that we want to keep. I can certainly see why some folks advocate heavy duty spraying with herbicides as an alternative control measure, but with a mechanical approach the secondary effects are much more limited, at least geographically. That means we may get to salvage some of the current wildflowers as the prospects for a decent sized Autumn Solstice bonfire continue to improve.

phlox to be saved
phlox to be saved
Photo by J. Harrington

I can see that buckthorn, both common and glossy, degrades habitat quality to the extent that it might be nice to find uses for the wood, but not at the expense of letting it grow. At least now, in Minnesota, "It is illegal to import, sell, or transport buckthorn in Minnesota." Call me cynical, but I find it impossible to get serious about managing, let alone eradicating, invasive species and/or noxious weeds until we, as a state and a society, do a much better job of controlling all non-native sources.

Perhaps my perspectives and biases will change as I read Beyond the War on Invasive Species. In fact, I expect it them to. A long time ago, before I became a recovering planner, I learned something along the lines of: For Every Complex Problem, There Is an Answer That Is Clear, Simple, and Wrong. (That brings us back to the secondary effects of herbicides.)

                     Back from the Fields



Until nightfall my son ran in the fields,
looking for God knows what.
Flowers, perhaps. Odd birds on the wing.
Something to fill an empty spot.
Maybe a luminous angel
or a country girl with a secret dark.
He came back empty-handed,
or so I thought.

Now I find them:
thistles, goatheads,
the barbed weeds
all those with hooks or horns
the snaggle-toothed, the grinning ones
those wearing lantern jaws,
old ones in beards, leapers
in silk leggings, the multiple
pocked moons and spiny satellites, all those
with juices and saps
like the fingers of thieves
nation after nation of grasses
that dig in, that burrow, that hug winds
and grab handholds
in whatever lean place.

It’s been a good day.



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