Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Daily Grind

It's funny how time and circumstance change our perspective immensely. Two months ago, in the midst of reporting on changing ice crystals, if I could even find a change in them, I would have given anything to have one tiny leaf, little emerging fiddlehead... anything to write about. Now, with embarrassing riches of change every hour of every day, I don't seem to want to write about something unless it's a magnificent new burst of color... I check the marsh marigolds for yellow blooms, but am a day or two early yet. I check the mertensia for their tightly-closed purple buds to turn blue, but am early there, too. And so I don't write. Even though the walnut trees are leafing out, significant not just because all leaf-outs are significant, but because compound leaves are usually slower than their simple friends.

I skipped these periwinkles entirely just because they aren't wildflowers or something I planted -- they bloomed last week. I didn't tell you that the bloodroots, which I chronicled from bud to blossom and some steps in between, are now spent, their pristine white petals littering the floor and creased with the brown of death. I didn't mention that my 4 mayapples have turned to 14, that hepatica, one of the first spring ephemerals to show their stamen, are still blooming strong. I skipped the reddish leaves of the queen of the prairie emerging from the blackened earth. And really? If I tried to describe the changes in the serviceberry, I'd practically be at a loss for words, anyhow -- they are different every day, but until I see an actual flower, what can I say?

I'm not sure, in the end, if I'm spoiled by the wealth of the season, or if I'm frustrated by my lack of words to describe it. See, I feel as though, in the second year of this blog, constant snapshots and factual reports of blossoms won't cut it. I want to say something every time I write, and I just don't have that much to say about phenology each and every occurrence. I notice them, I celebrate them to myself... but I don't always have words. Plus, there are a lot of gray areas. Do I report this golden Alexander flower even though the rest of the plants -- even the rest of the flowers on this plant -- look about a week away from wearing yellow?

And then there's things like this...
I don't have any clue what this fern is. We've planted a large variety, the tags are all gone, and it won't be until real fronds emerge that I have any hope of IDing them. So what do I call it?

You'll pardon my complaining about issues that aren't really problems at all... it's a lovely day, week -- enjoy all that's happening out there!

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