Sunday, April 26, 2009

A place fit to live


Moss, red maple flowers and Canada mayflower atop a diabase boulder in the Sourlands

Saturday
Corduroy, wool, denim...all this came tumbling out of my closet, sticking to my sweaty and sunburned arms, irritating my mind made animal by hunger and heat. A cool drink of water and a sandwich made long hours spent standing on blacktop outside a municipal garage fade.

Only a pair of killdeer and tree swallows found the municipal building landscape satisfactory. Then again, the swallows never touched the ground once, and the killdeer had the pond across the street.

I can't think of a single, visibly identifiable creature or plant that can survive at the center of several thousand square feet of blacktop.

Add a crack in the hard surface: dandelions and moss. You can now survive here.

Jared exclaimed, "I think there might be three species of Ranunculus here!" and pulled out Newcomb's. "Didn't Hildy say the buttercups were difficult?" "Uh-huh. OK. Basal leaves about as wide as... Hispid buttercup, early buttercup, creeping buttercup, swamp buttercul, tall buttercup, spreading globeflower, flower-of-an-hour..." He read the names again, and I remembered weeding flower-of-an-hour out of a garden I used to work at. I imagined its odd seed capsules. "Stem hairy, no, not hairy..."

Saturday evening
I stood. Still, under the sky, under the stars. I reached up to the stars again and again. Still. I moved my arm and brushed a long strand of hair away. I brushed and brushed, it would not come away. I stepped and felt that same long strand wrapped around my legs. A spider had found me a landscape fit to dwell in.

Marsh marigold

Sunday

Shocking heat - nearing 90 degrees today. On this wind came the oriole, wood thrush, ovenbird, catbird, house wren. They made their joyful racket with other recent travellers: the common yellow throat, red-eyed vireo and chipping sparrows; and nest builders: the robin.

Two chickadees felt a stir and visited the birdhouse near our tiny wetlands. Once verdant lawn grass that grew hatefully fast around a willowy hemlock, now liatris, lobelia cardinalis, iris versicolor, lilium canadense, pinxter azalea, senecio aureus, osmunda regalis... a landscape fit to a raise a family in.

Frogs are croaking and trilling. The peepers are calling and calling. Bats are flying.

The moon is waxing, drawing up and drawing out all living things - should they find a landscape fit to live in.

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