Tuesday, November 8, 2011

An End, or a Beginning?

Why this photo, when the blooming is done for the season?  I just sold an 8x10 of this image to a friend, and, in fixing up a mat and frame, fell in love with it all over again.  The Crimson Columbine was blooming in this same friend's yard at least a month later than this species was going to seed everywhere else in the vicinity.  There must have been something special about the microclimate in the shade on the north side of his house.  This little area recently has been the home of some beautiful fungi and a very large toad. 
On this very cold morning, my oldest daughter's birthday, I finally dressed for the occasion and thoroughly enjoyed a two-mile walk while waiting for an oil change.  I'm now in a warm cafe, looking back on the morning.  I just realized that I probably never looked up at the sky for the entire two miles.  I was focused on the weedy ground in front of me, hoping to see the last few blooming flowers.  I am still resisting the end of summer, even while looking forward to winter.  I managed to spot one small patch of filaree with two blossoms.  Then I came across lots of wild mustard.  Got to thinking about cruciferous vegetables in general, even though the family name has been changed from Cruciferae to Brassicaceae.  Somehow brassicaceous vegetables doesn't have that same 'ring.' 
Among the many other thoughts I entertained on this walk, is my admiration for a book by Hannah Hinchman, A Trail Through Leaves.  I am rereading the book.  I managed to read Chapter 1, for about the tenth time, over a cup of tea.  The result, I had to make the momentous decision whether to take out my highlighter or buy a package of Post-it(r)'s.  I decided in favor of the latter.  Then, I decided to start yet another journal.  In fact, I'm calling this one "Yet Another Nature Journal."  It will start off as a dialogue between myself and the passages I mark in Hannah's amazing book.  Hopefully, at this point, my readers will understand the title of today's post.  I'll keep you posted (pun intended).


  1. I learned this year that there are two species of red columbine, one of which blooms later than the other. The early one is smooth-stemmed; the latter one sticky/glandular. Of course it's still possible the one you photographed is the early one, blooming late!

  2. Is one of the species you refer to the one that grows back East? That one is usually called Red Columbine while the Sierra native is known as Crimson Columbine, Aquilegea formosa.