I started working at the nursery in 1977. The property lies under a commercial jet corridor. You can’t hear ‘em but you can see them and the contrails for hours afterwards. I’ve been looking up at them for DECADES. Today I was there for a few hours and did not see one jet, not one contrail, and the traffic on the highway out front was a tiny fraction of normal flow. I did not have one customer either.
See with your own eyes the way the skies looked 100,000 years ago. Looks like the airline industry is out of business for the foreseeable future. They pollute an ungodly amount of nasty shit and despite the circumstances, it’s a literal breath of fresh air to see actual unmolested blue sky. Same thing happened after 9/11.
Hellebores care not about coronavirus. This winter flowering tough perennial does what it does regardless of the pitfalls of mankind.
Did our way of life bring hell raining down upon us? If so, there is comfort in Mother Nature. Go outside and look for signs of life in your yard, take the epidemic off your mind for a while, it feels good.
Born on date- 1986, specially grafted for me. My old friend is called “Tsuga canadensis aurea nana,” or dwarf golden hemlock. It is an irreplaceable, impossible tree to acquire. It’s stature in my yard is ancient and sturdy on a four foot tall plant. If you fantasize for a moment, you’ll imagine this to be a 450’ tall tree towering over your head. Dwarf trees attain the same shape as giants- everything in proportion just smaller. I’m lucky to have this tree- did you ever say that to yourself about a tree of yours?
Pink dogwood left over from last year.
In the bakery business, leftovers break your teeth. In the grocery business, leftovers get discarded.
In the tree business (at least here), left over trees are repriced to a higher price because they are bigger and fuller than when they came in.
As soon as our dogwood trees come in, they are planted in mulch- the very same day. Within a month, they are fed with the best food money can buy. Two months later, the unsold trees are respaced and the strapping cut away from the neck of the tree to prevent girdling of the ever expanding trunk. Fall brings flower bud development, and spring then brings flower bud swelling.
I have a particular love for dogwoods- they’re native. They support native pollinators (highly endangered), they feed native birds in the fall with their large red berries. Their fall color is breathtaking, then there is their flower!!! Heart stopping!
This is what dogwood buds are about to look like. Swelling, cracking open their protective shell. Teentsy tiny pollen filled buds about to provide food to endangered pollinators.
Magnificent bracts (pink part) are vegetative neon signs waving their virtual arms- hey pollinator!!! Over here!!! Come pollinate me!!! The actual flowers are the yellowy balls in the center that turn into Red Bull energy berries for evening grosbeaks, robins, cardinals, wrens, etc, in the fall.
A partial collection of my surfing rocks. Every time I go surfing, I pick up a rock on my way out of the water. They are nice reminders of good times. Sometimes I go over to them and pick them up. They feel good in my hands- HEAVY, often sun-warmed, various tones of grey and tan and white, and smoothed by the underwater forces of nature over hundreds or thousands of years. In the various stages of sunlight during the day, they take on many different personalities as the sun is muted, then strong then muted again. I find solace, beauty, and happiness when I see them, even though they are just a pile of rocks. Beauty is in the beholder, I guess.
In September of 2017 I was surfing for the twentieth day in September in Rhode Island. That was the best surfing month in my long history (check out the September 2017 entries in the surfing blog on this website).My body was as jacked up as it’s been in decades from constant exertion, and I was strong as hell yet tired also.
That one day I had been in the water for a few hours and was pretty tired. The wave faces were ten to fifteen feet tall and perfect on a rainy cloudy day. I was paddling back out after riding one and I saw this wave headed towards me. It was not going to break in front of me, nor behind me- it was going to flop over right on TOP of me. Since there was nobody behind me, I broke a surfing rule- I ditched my board and dove straight down deep, as deep as I could in the little time I had.
On the rare occasion that I ditch my board, my eyes are always tightly squeezed shut to keep out the salt water and the only sensory input is sound, the feel of the swirling water around me, and the tumbling my body endures as the force of the wave molests my helpless body.
As predicted, I heard the giant wave implode directly above me. None of you probably have ever heard that noise but it’s LOUD and lasts for a long time as the wave goes towards shore. This wave-noise was different though. Added to the space shuttle-like rocket engine noise of the charging tumultuous white water was the grinding sound of an avalanche of boulders crashing down a steep slope above my head as my imagination looked up. That wave was so damn powerful it stirred up the boulders on the ocean floor. Because my eyes were shut my brain has been able to focus on my thoughts at that moment and has been able to remember every single detail about that one deep dive, like it happened yesterday.
The rock I took home that day is inside with other notable surfing rocks from singularly memorable days, and when I allow myself moments of reflection my mind drifts back to better times spent paddling in hurricanes. Will I be around for the next hurricane season?
Aconitum foliage from last year, coming back nicely.