Alpine Lady

Honoring the natural world through prose, poetry, music, sounds, photographs and musings.


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An Evening Quest for Goldenrod

 

Recently Michael and I felt the need to take an evening drive and check on the tall spires of Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis ) which we collect beginning in late July. We could tell a storm was on brewing above the Olympic Mountains to the south and the timing was perfect to gather some herb before the rains came and delayed harvest. At our favorite collection spot in the drying grasses adjacent to a cattle pasture, the rich conical heads shone golden-yellow in the setting sunlight.

Conical spires of Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)

Conical spires of Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis).

Thousands of sun-drenched blossoms, each its own golden-rayed orb, attract a myriad of pollinators hungry for nectar to store for winter. It also hosts insect herbivores and predators all utilizing some aspect of the plant or those that come to visit it.

An insect attractor for pollinators and herbivores

An insect attractor for pollinators and herbivores.

Goldenrod has a spicy aroma and citrusy flavor which I find numbs the tongue slightly when chewed raw. It has a solid place in folk lore medicinals with many applications including treating urinary tract infections, alleviating allergies including cat allergies and hay fever, reducing sore throats and fevers, and relieving muscle soreness. Michael makes a soothing and effective muscle salve using coconut oil as the base. I use it to ease muscle stiffness and as an ankle rub to remove edema.

Golden-rayed orbs of beauty.

Golden-rayed orbs of beauty.

After a successful gathering, the throaty wild call of a bald eagle caught our attention and we watched as it flew to a tall snag overlooking the valley backlit by a faint rainbow gracing the darkening sky.

The distant rumbling of thunder beckoned us back into our car and we drove along the rim of the valley taking every advantage to see the majesty of the storm sweep through. The sky above the Dungeness Cemetery was particularly picturesque.

Storm brewing above pioneers cemetery where we like to take photographs of the valley below.

Storm brewing above Dungeness Cemetery, a favorite spot to photograph the valley below and the Olympic Mountains throughout the year.

Once home, the Goldenrod was put away to wilt for an evening, computers shut down, and we continued to watch the storm and rain squalls sweep across the valley, lightning crisscross the sky, and the trees start to sway as winds picked up the smell of dust and then of damp earth. I waited in anticipation when suddenly a bolt was launched in front of me that jarred my nerves and left an imprint on my retinas. I stepped back under the porch overhang as the heavy, cold drops descended smelling of mud.

Later as the storm passed, the sun sinking quite low on the horizon found spots to break through the lowest layer of cloud cover casting a deep, golden-yellow glow punctuated by horizontal flashes of lightning. A perfect ending to an evening quest for Goldenrod.

The golden-yellow sky after the storm passed through.

The golden-yellow sky after the storm passed through.

Until our next journey together, may peace grace your lives.  ~ P

 

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Tickling Blueberries

My fingers stroke the heavily-weighted clusters of Bluecrop blueberries,
tickling them off the branches and into the bright blue bucket
while sensual, poetic images flit through my mind,
tickling my imagination.

A sea of blue netting above the picking field,
played by the northwestern wind’s soughing gusts,
mimics softly-played violin strings rising to crescendo
before plunging into an untuned cello’s raspy thrum.

Heavily clusters of blue crop blueberries just ripe for tickling into bucket.

Heavy clusters of blue crop blueberries just ripe for tickling into the picking bucket.

The wind catches its breath and I hear close by,
a white-crowned sparrow urging me onward
with its cheery, repetitive song:
“See me, pretty, pretty me! See me, pretty, pretty me!”

In the distance, young ravens
indulge in a raucous choir practice
led by adults chanting lyrics
atop tall cottonwoods alongside the river.

Sitting below the blue netting at Dungeness Meadow Farm listening to the pickers and ravens along with the soughing of the melodious winds.

Sitting below the blue netting at Dungeness Meadow Farm listening to the pickers and ravens along with the soughing of the melodious winds.

The sounds of the surrounding pickers’ chatter,
neighborhood lawn and field mowing,
and the hammering of carpenters fill in the gap
until the wind rises again and tunes the net.

My bucket overflows soon with the delicious blue orbs,
a few crab spiders, a splash of leaves turning autumn colors,
and the memories of the season’s pick to feed my poetic nature
come winter’s smoothies, scones and pies.

Until we journey together again, may your days be blessed with peace and beauty. ~ P

There's a sign at the sales stand that reads: "Snacking is permitted, grazing is not!"

There’s a sign at the sales stand that reads: “Snacking is permitted, grazing is not!” The owners, however, are liberal at permitting snacks. Not grazing is hard to do when confronted with such ripe bounty unless you eat, brush your teeth right before picking and plan to pucker up for the first few handfuls.

 

 


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Peace

Peace requires recognition to exist;

initiated by a nebulous faith in hope,

 it is an entity needing proper care and feeding.

No wonder peace is so hard to obtain,

let alone sustain.

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Until we journey together next time, may your gestures today be filled with hope and peace.


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July’s Capricious Skies

Atop capricious skies of gray,

July waits with flickering tongue

to melt plants water-fat with June rains

and desiccate hardy lichens.

Water-fat lichens and mosses on old stump.

Water-fat lichens and mosses on old stump.

The earth reacts naturally

beckoning hues of rich color

to adorn larkspur and lavender

in renaissance blue and purple.

Honey bee savoring nectar on lavender blossom

Honey bee savoring nectar on lavender blossom.

The deep green of summer leaves

hide raspberries and cherries,

but not their ripening odors

from children, wasps and hungry black crows.

Ripening cherries on the old McComb Cabin cherry tree.

Ripening cherries on the old McComb Cabin cherry tree.

I prefer the cooler days

away from the blistering heat,

but you might want the summer flames

to ripen deeper fantasies.

Neighborhood fig fruit filled with hawthorn -infused honey!

Neighborhood fig fruit filled with hawthorn -infused honey!

Until we meet again on our journey around the spiraling year, may your summer be filled with peace and plenty. ~ Patricia