Sunday, August 9, 2009


Crickets chirp in the still, humid night air, welcoming the darkness that comes earlier as the days march on. The air is heavy with heat and the weight of the world.

In phenological recordings, people generally note firsts, peaks, and lasts... as in, the purple coneflower first bloomed on June XX; peak bloom was July XX, and the last bloom was August XX. Loyal readers may have noticed that I am diligent about recording firsts. They are exciting and new! Who wouldn't record a first? Peaks I sometimes mention, because they do tend to be pretty. But lasts? I am not so good at making mention of the lasts. Besides lacking the excitement of a first, they are often harder to record with certainty. How do you know that monarch is the last? What if I see another tomorrow? In fact, I falsely reported the last strawberry this June, and ended up getting quite a large handful a few days later. So lasts... not my thing.

But coming home from England, I have noticed some lasts. Queen of the Prairie no longer rules the "wet prairie" located at the end of my drain spout. Spiderwort is completely finished flowering (and probably was before we left). Bergamot is looking pretty sad. While some things are just getting started -- Joe Pye bloomed while we were gone; my sweet brown-eyed susans, much later bloomers than their black-eyed friends, are finally in full bloom; big bluestem and Indian grass are flowering; and better late than never, my compass plant finally got itself a flower -- but anyhow... while these things are starting, summer for some things is winding down.

Perhaps I am taking note of this especially because summer is also winding down for me. Hard to believe, what with the fact that I am practically melting (A/C malfunction, that's another story); the fact that I just today made my first, small batch of tomato sauce; and the fact that the summer solstice is like a month and a half away... but summer for us officially ends as we go back to work this week. Pfffft. It's been a fun, but short, ride. How depressing.

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