Tuesday, May 10, 2011


On the way home today I had my best flower-sighting day of the year. Two main stops: the first was a swampy area off Stampfli Lane in Indian Valley and the second was a hilly roadside scene opposite Indian Creek between the Arlington Road turnoff and Indian Falls. I've got the photos from the two stops sorted, but am too tired to type my inspiring essays. This one will be about mud (in the swamp pictured above) and a Robert Frost poem. The second will include another batch of photos and an essay on the dangers of wildflower watching. Maybe tonight.

It's now later, and I've found enough energy to post the remaining photos, but maybe not the essay. It started with finding the Stickseed (top photo), a close relative of the Forget-me-nots, as soon as I got out of the car, and ended with tromping through mud at the periphery of the swamp in the last photo. The rest of the adventure will be posted later.

Oops! For some reason this software won't let me add the rest of my photos. I had three more to go above the "derelict." Will try again later.

There. Problem solved and the rest of the photos are here. Too tired to add the text now. Tomorrow a.m. Can ya wait?

As the plaque on my Dad's wall said, "Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday." I'm not worried about anything new today, but I am ready to share some thoughts I promised yesterday. My title was inspired by Robert Frost's poem, "Two Tramps in Mud Time." I was thinking about that poem while driving home from work, partly because I'm preparing an English assignment for my son that is a study of Frost. Mud Time is one of the poems I've chosen for study. Ironically, soon after making my first photography stop on Stampfli Lane, I was stomping around in mud. The story in this poem is about work and its role in one's life. Frost is splitting wood for himself both for pleasure and for warmth. The tramps need work so they'd like to do his job for pay. The story in the poem culminates with my favorite lines: "But yield who will to their separation, My object in life is to unit My avocation and my vocation, As my two eyes make one in sight." For me, the line between vocation and avocation has always been blurry, sometimes to my detriment, but mostly in ways that I believe enhance both. I'm hoping that some of the things my son is passionate about, which now may be called hobbies, will some day be his vocation.
When it comes to studying and photographing wildflowers, I have always been fascinated with the names, both scientific and common, as they reveal so much about history and attitudes of the namers. The top photo here is Stickseed, and the seeds, when they come, do indeed stick to socks and pants and shoelaces. After walking through a field of these, which are often accompanied by buttercups that have similarly-behaving seeds, it can be quite a chore to remove the seeds from one's clothing.
Next photo down, Pineapple Weed, is named for its similarity to pineapple - both the shape and fragrance of its flower heads. The aroma is particularly noticeable if the flower heads are squeezed.
Buttercups are blooming in abundance and I've photographed them often, but in this shot you see one blossom with white petals. I assume this is what we call a somatic mutation. Click on it for a closer view.
After photographing the buttercup, I turned around toward my car and, for some reason, the old trailer seemed photogenic. Not exactly as iconic as the abandoned stage coach of buckboard, but with Grizzly Peak and Mt. Hough in the background, I couldn't resist. Then I came across a dense patch of willow in a ditch. Not particularly photogenic in its own right, I stopped to look for butterfly cocoons, insect galls, insects, and whatever else might be hiding within. I scored an attractive beetle.
[Time to go to work, so to speak. This narrative to be continued afterward.]

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