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A Few May Flowers

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Each week there are different plants in bloom.  Some last a while, others change so quickly I can’t catch them on film.  I’d do better if I took my camera out with me on every walk.  I can’t seem to make it a habit.  Some of these pictures are plants I’ve run out to the backyard to photograph.  Others belong to my neighbors.

One of the plants in my yard which I classify as a wildflower, but I suspect many call a weed, is wire lettuce.  It is named for the fact that its leaves look like stems.  It has a very small white flower tinged with pink.  Unfortunately, I haven’t yet been able to capture that pink edge on film.

Wie Lettuce

Wire Lettuce

Another plant in my garden is blooming for the first time this year.  It was a volunteer; its seed must have come some distance since I haven’t seen this in any of my neighbors’ yards.  It is an acacia, and, yes, those round yellow balls are the flower, not the fruit.

Volunteer Acacia

Volunteer Acacia

I have two small desert willow plants in my yard.    They’ve only put out one or two flowers so far this year – one last year.  So I admire the mature trees in my neighbors’ yards.  On this one, you can see many blossoms, along with last year’s seed pods.   I think I have quite a few years to wait for this kind of display.

Desert Willow

Desert Willow

One plant I’ve been wanting for my yard and haven’t found a place for is cholla.  It is much better behaved and less weedy than prickly pear, so I may yet find a spot.  I love the way the flowers appear among the pods from last year.  At some point in my youth I was part of a class in colors, for clothes, in which we were told not to mix purple and yellow.  Nature missed this suggestion.  I see yellow and purple flowers together every all, and here, the purple flowers among yellow seed pods.

Cholla

Cholla

 

 

Another Turn in the Wheel of the Year

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I spent a large part of May Day cleaning a nasty piece of malware called “Get Savin’” out of my computer. It could be considered a very modern form of spring cleaning, I suppose. Thank goodness there are helpful websites out there and people who can tell us which ones are good. After all that work I decided to “lie low” for a couple of days. I didn’t want to chance discovering that the “cure” hadn’t been successful.

In the materials I’ve been reading about this cross-quarter day, the mid-point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice, I have been even more struck than usual by the climate specific nature of the Celtic beliefs on which current ideas about Beltane (May Day) and Samhain (Halloween) are based. If you live in northern Europe – or New England – you are likely to be excited about the spring flowers, and you can find dew on the grass on May Day morning. (Apparently there is an ancient tradition that washing your face in that May Day dew will bring you beauty and good fortune.)

Here in the desert, however, the weather is getting hot – this really is the turn into summer, which will last until the fall equinox. the way I measure the temperatures. No waiting for Memorial Day to open the swimming pools around here.

People like Lisa Michaels, whose posts on the seasons and the astrological signs I read regularly, are well aware that they are using language that only fits the northern hemisphere. Christianity too is a northern hemisphere religion, with its light in the darkness themes of Christmas and Epiphany. Christianity has done best when it absorbs aspects of a local religious viewpoint into its ritual and imagery. Where we live, and the images and ideas we draw from our surroundings, make a difference in our world view. Place – the specific place in which we live – matters.

(You can find Lisa’s recommendations on celebrating the seasons at http://www.lisa-michaels.com)