I’ve long appreciated the beautiful late summer blooms of Orange jewelweed—tangerine-orange chalices with tiny red polka dots on their insides—but as a weed I thought it was best left to grow on the moist margins of the woods, not a volunteer I should keep around in a flowerbed. But I’ve been changing my ways of late, paying more attention to native plants (Orange jewelweed is native to Maine) and their role in providing food and habitat resources for our insects, birds, mammals and more.
we left unpulled last July,
hummingbirds’ fall feast
One of the joys of a Maine summer is being able to eat breakfast outside on fair-weather mornings, and one of the best spots for that is near some morning glories with their blooms for the day just opened.
early bumble bee
tunnels deep into every
morning glory heart
I’ve been learning to pay more attention to the native plants around me, the old-time residents of the land. Often these turn out to be little favored in contemporary horticultural terms. They are said to be lacking in showy blooms and a sweet fragrance, or as too attractive to insects. But gradually, awareness of the value of native plants to the health of the environment is increasing. And I think our ability to see the intrinsic beauty of many of these plants is growing too.
new leaves burning through spring rain,
russet, lemon green
In the overlap between the end of maple-sugaring time and the start of mud season the pussy willows (Salix discolor) bloom. Pussy willow trees go largely unnoticed through most of the year, but right now they are the beloved stars of the woodland show.
Standing in snowmelt
I clear away last year’s vines
from pussy willows
I’m fortunate enough to have received the final dose of the Moderna Vaccine and so to have joined the still very small percentage of people to be fully vaccinated against COVID.
Some folks, myself included, experience side effects, especially from the second dose (a low fever, headache, fatigue). Others get away with just a sore arm, or nothing at all. Either way, they say our bodies are building immunity.
Dozing on the couch
slowed by yesterday’s vaccine—
snow falls slow all day
We are almost a year into the pandemic, regretfully habituated to a muted, distanced life with most social encounters occurring via the internet. Like others, I’ve learned to set my computer monitor in front of a sunny window; the light is cheering, especially in winter, and has the advantage of brightening my face so it’s more visible to others online. I also have some nonhuman company in my well-lit location.
beside a sea of Zoom faces,