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Archive for August, 2009

Field of Queen Anne's Lace that became my obsession!

Field of Queen Anne's Lace that became my obsession!

I became obsessed with my vision of the field of queen anne’s lace and decided to bring my camera on the next bike ride. Of course the towering blossoms were chopped down as I lamented in the previous post, but I still found plenty to photograph. I am enthralled with these images not so much because of their beauty. I do think they’re lovely, but they’re not really like an Ansel Adams photo or anything that great. I think however, I am clinging to them as I cling to the last days of summer before I return to teaching. These morning bike rides have been more than merely exercise and trying to get in shape. They have been meditative, a time to allow my mind to wonder and perhaps caress an idea or two, a dream about a queen anne’s lace holding court in midsummer perhaps or just an idea for the day. I never felt this imaginative stimulus when I was riding a stationary bike at an athletic club with the 4 TVs droning on about God-Knows-What! I am going to continue to try to ride the bike when I get home from work, but I know it won’t be the same. I will be stressed from the day and tired and who knows what else. The promise of a clear summer day ahead will be replaced by the worry that I need to get the ride in before the waning autumnal light gives way to darkness. There have been signs of fall the past few days on my ride…goldenrod is starting to replace the Queen and many of the Queen’s blossoms have curled up into skeletal formations that house the seeds that will spread the wonder for next year. Wild asters are popping up too, scruffy and short compared to their tamed cousins in the garden. I saw too, the newly formed chartreuse seed pods of the milkweed plant. These will dry and release a dreamy cloud of seeds in another month or two. So there are some lovely sights to look forward to as the cerulean sky and fresh greens of summer give way to the golden grasses and burnished leaves of autumn. Still I am a child of August and bidding adieu to my month is somewhat sad.

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Queen Anne's Lace from WI DNR website

Queen Anne's Lace from WI DNR website

I have been riding my bike each morning for the past couple weeks. It is the height of summer, a very dry summer here in Wisconsin. These conditions have been perfect for what seems to be the most glorious crop of Queen Anne’s Lace I’ve ever seen. This flower has always been one of my favorites. It is technically considered a weed by some. I like to think of it as a wonderful perennial that blooms in fields around my house. I don’t have it in my garden, but have often thought of adding some. It supposedly will spread and take over, not sure about that, but what this post is really about is the experience I’ve had each morning on my bike ride.

I go for about an hour and there is a path that cuts through the middle of a field near the river. It is lovely and wild and I often feel I am an intruder here cutting through an area that should belong to the butterflies, bees, snakes, mice and whatever else might be creeping around or buzzing past. I have seen some amazing sites on this ride, which I choose to do the same each day because it changes each day. Some mornings there are yellow canaries clinging to the stems of the thistles, which also grow tall and wild around the path. The sweet scent of clover still wet from the valuable morning dew perfumes the air as I pedal by. But the best part is the Queen Anne’s Lace, it’s tall willowy stems supporting the exquisite lacy, white caps, which turn to greet the sun as it travels through the sky each day.

In one area of the path the Queen Anne’s Lace is so high that it feels like I am a visitor to the court of the midsummer’s fairy queen and these are her lacy sentinels guarding her court and welcoming me in to the kingdom. I ponder and day dream on this as I ride past each morning. One day however, I am horrified to see that the keepers of the park have decided to mow down growth along this path, cutting a 3 foot swath of prickly brown destruction on either side. The queen’s sentinels have been cut down, her minions further off in the field still visible, but not the tallest guards who watched over the path. I am truly appalled and mourn the loss as if a friend has died. There are no more canaries near the path, the monarch butterflies are far off in the field not up close where I can see them. I am saddened and then angered…should I tell someone? Call my alderman, the park ranger? They would laugh at me and say the park must be kept civilized for all users.

I must say since that morning I have hesitated on my ride, even thinking of going elsewhere. But I do have hope that soon the August sun and the two days of rain we had will help the late summer flowers spring up, the lacy blooms replaced by goldenrod and asters. This gives me something to look forward to. I wait eagerly!

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