Posts Tagged ‘Nature’


…and on clematis and jewelweed as well. How I love walking after a morning rain. Even with that song stuck in my mind.




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It is still (just barely) National Poetry Month, and I am thinking of Edna St. Vincent Millay, particularly since the subject of one of my favorite Millay poems, “The Strawberry Shrub,” is in bloom now. It’s an odd poem, a very close examination of this plant that she calls “old-fashioned, quaint as quinces,/Hard to find in a world where neon and noise/Have flattened the ends of the three more subtle senses,/And blare and magenta are all that a child enjoys.”

She describes its color as the “color of dried blood, color of the key of F.” I love that last metaphor. Although I do not have synesthesia in the medical sense, Millay’s “color of the key of F” makes sense to me. When I sing my own songs, my natural key is generally A or G. The key of F is lower, deeper, fuller, a bit darker. If fire red is middle C, the key of F is this color.

This past week I have been having a good time finding other blooming plants in the color of the key of F. Here are a few.


The interior of a jack-in-the-pulpit.


Pawpaw blossoms.


A kind of red trillium.

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Dew Tell


Rain on a tulip and dew drops strung along a spider’s web, dripping from a bluebell, and dancing on the leaf of a celandine poppy. Surface tension is a wonderful phenomenon.



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This is the blossom of the wineberry, also called the Japanese wineberry or the wine raspberry. A native of China, Japan, and Korea, it was introduced to the U.S. in the 1890s, escaped cultivation, and is actually considered invasive in some parts of the country.

I am happy to be invaded by such a plant. The berries will ripen around the 4th of July, and, if I’m around to pick them, they will decorate my bowl of oatmeal every morning for a week or two. They are delicious. The word “wineberry” describes them accurately.

Collecting them, however, is a sticky business. See those little red hairs? Every one of them holds a tiny glob of an amazingly gluey substance. I have learned that it is a good idea to bring a couple of baby wipes along on a wineberry-picking expedition.

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Sacred Spirals

So. The computer on which I do most of my work has crashed, and I haven’t had it for two whole weeks. That means I am doing a lot of walking, partly to pass the time and partly to keep from panicking about the computer and the backlog of work and bookkeeping that’s currently out of my reach. Luckily, it’s a great time of year for walking. Many wildflowers are blooming, and all sorts of growing things are pushing their way into the world.

When I saw these emerging fronds today, they seemed to be speaking to me about my life: telling me something about inevitability and time. Things will work themselves out. The computer will get fixed, or it won’t. I will retrieve my files, or I won’t. Tomorrow will come. Next week will come. These fronds will unfurl into ferns and flowers, whether I am sitting at a keyboard or walking up a hill, whether I am laughing or crying.

I think I’ll laugh. I think I’ll walk.

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It’s that wonderful time of year when magnolias start to bloom. These are two of my favorites. I don’t know what varieties they are. The one above is in front of an apartment building next-door to Arlington Court, and the blooms are very short-lived. I always think of it as “Susan’s Magnolia” because Susan Skeen loved this kind when she was alive, and planted one in her yard.

The tree below is on Virginia Street, and is always one of the most glorious sights of spring, especially on a day like today, when the skies were cloudless and blue.

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What’s wrong with this picture? I took it more than a week ago. Snowdrops, of course, are among the earliest of spring flowers—but I have never seen them before February. But here’s yet another quiet little reminder that climate change is here, and now: this little baby bloomed on January 8.

It wasn’t the only plant who got the get-up-and-grow signal: the blades of daffodils are also pushing up, well ahead of schedule, along the carriage trail. I don’t know if they’ll make it through the likely cold snaps we will experience between now and March, when they usually bloom.

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