Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I thought I was in Texas!

I have lived most of my life in Georgia, West Texas, or some other place noted for thunderstorms and tornadoes at almost any time of the year. But such storms are very rare in Washington State. Typically, one hears thunder only a few times in a year--usually in late spring or early summer.

But we had a humdinger this evening that would do justice to Warner Robbins, Georgia, or Clyde, Texas. No, there was no tornado and not a lot of wind, but the lightning was fierce and there was small hail even.

D. Grant Haynes

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Weekend walk yields another diminutive Washington wildflower

Purple Cushion Daisy (Erigeron poliospermus) (Photo by D. Grant Haynes)

A solitary stroll on this very quiet Sunday of the Memorial Day weekend did not see this striving photographer and chronicler of the natural world in Lincoln County Washington encounter anything as spectacular as my bitterroot find a couple of days ago. (See Bitterroot extravaganza at: http://strigidae-bitterroot.blogspot.com/.)

What I found today were clumps of purple cushion daisies scattered about in an old farm roadbed. They are newcomers in the spring pageant of wildflowers that I seek to record here. While small (the photo is actually about 125 percent of the size of the flowers), and unspectacular, they too have their niche in the natural world that is Eastern Washington. Many small flying insects seemed happy to find the neat little white daisies blooming today.

I accept whatever blessings of beauty, innocence, and guileless goodness I encounter on my walks. Today, in addition to the purple cushion daisies, I saw a pair of ring-necked pheasants that are, no doubt, nesting nearby.

"Day by day the manna fell...", went the refrain from a religious hymn of my childhood. Purple cushion daisies and wild pheasants were rewards enough for me today.

D. Grant Haynes

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Long-leaf phlox doesn't shout

Long-leaf phlox (Phlox longifolia)
(Photo by D. Grant Haynes)

Flowers, as humans, come in a variety of presentation styles.

Some, as the ostentatious arrow-leaf balsamroot now blooming in brilliant yellow clusters visible for a quarter mile in Eastern Washington, shout their presence. No man nor animal is likely to miss seeing them.

But other plants, such as the diminutive long-leaf phlox also blooming now during Eastern Washington's delayed spring, whisper their presence without shouting. Such small plants lend a delicate beauty to the landscape one can find and enjoy only by exploring the sage brush steppe closely and at a leisurely pace.

As in humans, the reward if often greatest when one takes time to cultivate and know the understated.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Upland larkspur lends its delicate beauty to spring in Washington

Upland Larkspur (Delphinium nuttallianum) (Photo by D. Grant Haynes)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dandelions as art

(Photo by D. Grant Haynes)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Norway Spruce cones

(Photo by D. Grant Haynes)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Granite Gilia brightens May's fields in Lincoln County Washington

Granite Gilia (Photo by D. Grant Haynes)

This spring's wildflowers are a full month later blooming than last year's in Eastern Washington. I wrote of seeing Granite Gilia on April 4, 2010. Today--May 4, 2011--I saw it in abundance for the first time this year, due to the unusually severe and prolonged winter now ending.

In its own quiet and unobtrusive way, this year's Granite Gilia gladdens the heart of all who yearn for a cessation of winter's siege.

No, at best, it's never a good place nor a good year for the roses in Eastern Washington.

But we'll take any roses we can get on the windswept Columbia Plateau and be grateful.

There is always an object lesson in nature that we humans would do well to imbibe.

The timid and unspectacular Granite Gilia plant does not whine, "why wasn't I born an azalea bush in Mobile's Bellingrath Gardens?" Rather, she accepts gracefully her role as a hardscrabble little plant growing in rocky volcanic soil on the windswept Columbia Plateau of Eastern Washington. She brightens the landscape for a few weeks, upon receiving her cue, and then retreats back into the soil to await another, perhaps more propitious, spring. No grumbling about her lot or her role in the grander scheme.

I would that we were all as wise.

D. Grant Haynes