April 29, 2011

"Early Spring"

Harshness vanished. A sudden softness
has replaced the meadows' wintry grey.
Little rivulets of water changed
their singing accents. Tendernesses,

hesitantly, reach toward the earth
from space, and country lanes are showing
these unexpected subtle risings
that find expression in the empty trees.

-- by Rainer Maria Rilke

April 26, 2011

Plant Literate #2: Squill

Here's the truth: I hardly know what to write here, or for that matter really want to write anything, because I am simply so satisfied with the walk I just had. Wildflowers! Nothing against the Snowdrops. They were all about hope, which I desperately needed the day I found them in the Arb, but today there was color everywhere. Yes, still a lot of brown. But also SO MUCH GREEN. So many little plants pushing up up up up up up up. And when I came across these purplely-blue bells and white-blue stars carpeting whole stretches of earth, I literally gasped. That is how much of a nut I am.

The Siberian Squill and Striped Squill made my day. They are number two on my Thirty Before Thirty list, and I love them. They remind me of eyelashes. That is all.

April 14, 2011

"Spring Thunder"

Listen, The wind is still,
And far away in the night --
See! The uplands fill
With a running light.

Open the doors. It is warm;
And where the sky was clear--
Look! The head of a storm
That marches here!

Come under the trembling hedge--
Fast, although you fumble...
There! Did you hear the edge
of winter crumble

-- by Mark Van Doren

April 7, 2011

Plant Literate #1: Snowdrop

Loathe as I am to put "snow" in any more titles, I am happy to announce that I have selected the first of my five newly-known plants on my Thirty Before Thirty list: the galanthus nivalis, or snowdrop. Apparently there are over seventy-five varieties of this plant, and all produce white blossoms. Their greatest benefit (besides being so charming) is that they're early risers. One of my dear childhood friends has returned from two years abroad, and when she and I took a stroll through the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum last week, we were disappointed early on to see mostly browns. Stumbling across these snowdrops then was a bit like finding a pot of (white) gold. From now on, when I see them, I will think both of her and the dependability of good things coming back to us.

April 1, 2011

For the Love of Parks

Some of my earliest memories involve parks. In fact, I think most of them do. What child doesn't love open spaces or mysterious woodlands to run in? And what adult--well, this adult, anyway--can't appreciate the perfection of a large swathe of land that's only purpose is to be itself? How centering is that? How necessary. So it saddens me to learn how the budget cuts in Minnesota will/might impact these important places. Thanks to Zoologirl for the alert. You really should just go to her blog and read her full response, but below is part of the Star Tribune article she quoted.
One-third of state parks could have hours reduced and services slashed under a sweeping environmental bill approved by the Minnesota House and Senate on Tuesday.
The Republican-controlled House would cut deepest, but both houses would limit spending for the environment and natural resources during the next two years to about $200 million, a trim of about $40 million from projected spending. The House and Senate proposed more cuts than DFL Gov. Mark Dayton recommended, but he makes up much of the gap with outdoor and environmental fee increases.
The reductions would hit nearly every corner of the Department of Natural Resources, the Pollution Control Agency, even the Minnesota Zoo.
DNR officials said the cuts could force a “mothballing” of up to 10 parks until state finances improve. Under the plan, the parks would remain open, but campgrounds and buildings would probably be closed and unstaffed.
I've never been much of a politico. It's just not me. And, Lord knows, as an educator I'm aware that pockets are tight and that cuts are sweeping. But here are my two-bits: I believe we need more of the natural world, not less. I believe people would find more of what they're looking for if they looked out, not down at their phones. I believe natural places impact people in overwhelmingly positive ways, and that they are worth taking care of, cherishing, and sharing with those who can be still enough to see.