Monday, July 16, 2018

Day of Discovery

As of Friday morning, my shared driveway of 150 feet or so was lined with two-foot tall yellow flowers that I believe were Hawkweed.  Note that I said "were."  More on that later.  As I began my morning walk down the drive, I spotted a little pink.  Pun intended, I guess, because the flower turned out to be a Pink.  There must have been several hundred Hawkweeds and only two Pinks.  Both types flowers seemed beautiful to me, but I was most strongly attracted to the Pink.  Because it was the rarer?  Or, because I didn't know what it was?  I wondered: if the whole area had been covered with Pinks and there were only one or two Hawkweeds, would I have perceived both differently?
I was not carrying my camera and had only my iPhone.  However, the sun was bright, there was lots of glare, and I'm not very good at taking pictures with my phone.  Thus, the above result.  Focused on the background, but not the flower.  After several more failed attempts, I got the photo below.  That one was clear enough that I was later able to identify the flower as Mountain Pink.  I also discovered that many different, unrelated flowers go by that same common name.  Thus, the scientific name, Dianthus armeria.  Other common names for this one are Deptford Pink and Grass Pink.  But, what's in a name?
I continued my walk into town and photographed the seed pods below.  The beautiful flowers that preceded them over a month ago were featured on this blog, and are also known by several different names: Love in a mist, and Devil in a bush, among others.  A classic love/hate relationship it seems.
I love this plant. Among other things that intrigue me about it is its family affiliation: Ranunculaceae, the buttercup family.

When I got back to my driveway, about an hour later, the Mountain Pinks had closed up for the day.  Or were they experiencing a premonition? By the next morning, they were gone!  All the flowers - both Hawkweeds and Pinks - were gone.  A weed eater enthusiast must have visited. We have different tastes.  Sure glad I got to discover this new flower.
Strolling the driveway on Saturday morning, the object of natural history interest to me was the below artifact - the remains of a visit by a young bear.  Most of the soft organic matter had disintegrated or become food for bacteria and ants while the more resistant seeds of he Choke Cherry are all that remained.
I don't know if you'd call this an adventure.  It seemed so to me, especially in the original sense of the word - something that's about to happen.  I approach every walk in that spirit of adventure.

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