Friday, April 07, 2017

For the sake of a weed

Field horsetail, cone open to release spores
What kind of man is willing to lie down on a hard, bumpy road just to get a good angle for a photo of an easily overlooked weed?

My husband is that kind of man. Fortunately, our road is not well-traveled, and I was standing guard in case any cars disrupted the photo session.

We'd been out looking for spring wildflowers, taking advantage of a break in the rains to climb the slick hill across the way and get up close to dutchman's breeches, trilliums, and bloodroot. We found trout lilies blooming alongside the ramps next to our creek, and on the way back from the neighbor's hillside we kept our eyes open for field horsetail.

It's not a particularly photogenic plant in its early stages, looking like a bunch of little brown buds perched on slender, pale stalks only a few inches tall. They grow in the least likely place: the disturbed ground on the edge of the road, where loose gravel and tar mix with the thinnest topsoil. Up close they look like tiny forests of prehistoric trees, opening their cones to release spores that will later produce green summer shoots resembling miniature bamboo--until the county road crew comes along and mows it all down.

It's difficult, though, to get close enough for a good photo without kneeling or sitting or even lying down on that rough road-edge, and I suppose I could have done it myself, but my husband offered to lie down in the road and I didn't try to dissuade him. I'm perfectly willing to risk my life to take a photo of a weed, but if someone else wants an opportunity to do so, who am I to refuse the offer?

trout lily
trout lily

buckeyes sending out new growth


dutchman's breeches


dutchman's breeches



Tiny forest of field horsetail



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No comments? When a man is willing to lay down his life for not just a weed but for a simulacrum of a weed? What is this postmodern world coming to, the French wonder? Well, not all of them, but maybe some.