Aster, Cocklebur, Plantain, Goosefoot, Lamb’s Quarters, Pigweed, Amaranth, Saltbush, Russian Thistle… These are all the weeds in local concentration out there. I had an intense allergic response a few days ago after being out walking and I thought it was the wild grasses that are high this time of year in late July but now I am thinking it is one of the above weeds. None of which I could identify.
It turns out we have 4 kinds of native thistle here. Telling which ones are native and which are interlopers is a whole rabbit hole to go down. I found the scene where I took this photo poignant as the thistle was growing wild out of a rusted vent on a neglected public stairway nearby. It reminds me of the of the large artichoke thistles that folks grow here in their gardens. They add color to the dry late summer palette.
I heard an interview with the science writer Sonia Shah about her new book The Next Great Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move in early June and every time I am out now, I ponder some of the ideas she raises.
Fresh Air Interview
Maybe there aren’t such things as invasive species. Maybe they are migrants.
Reflecting on that seems appropriate now in this time of great climate disruption. But it tuns on its head so much about what I have learned about birds and trees and plants. We have this purist idea about the balance of our environment, and I understand as I sure as heck don’t want thousands of Spotted Lantern Flies hopping around our abundant Trees-of-Heaven like they have in PA.
But the climate does change, even before we started messing with it and accelerating it without greed and rapacious insensitivity. Plants move, animals and of course there are millions of humans on the move now too.
As a distraction from the local and national insanity going on here, I have been listening to these lectures called the History of the Ancient World: A Global Perspective. Last night I was learning about the coins in Athens that had owls stamped on them and were called “Owls”.
Looking at the huge sweep of history is helpful when there is little comfort with a madman in charge surrounded by his religious zealot sycophants in the middle of what might finally be a settling down of a new virus raging through the population.
Our case rates here are 10 times as high as they were in April. We had more deaths reported from the virus in a single day yesterday than since this whole thing started.
And for the first time since I have lived here, we have had two garages become available for rent (one rents the few garages we have separately for $125 a month) at the same time. To park on the street overnight, one needs a permit.
We’ve had a couple of truly hot days. Hot enough that a number of students skipped my Monday class so they could stay at home in their one cool room. I have only been going out for the mail, garbage and recycling.
Today is better. But only a little. There is no social walking going on in my world. Most Honorable went for an early morning bike ride yesterday as did my odd retired dentist neighbor.
I have been looking at the Ishtar Gate, amazing, At the pyramids that were built out in the open before they started hiding them from robbers. At the frescos of the Minoans. At the giant olive presses that were originally thought to be temples in ancient Libya.
The professor I am listening to believes that climate and environment have everything to do with how a civilization develops.
I haven’t gotten to how a civilization falls, but whoa baby, it sure seems like we might be experiencing that right now. It is, apparently all about cities.
The thing that keeps me going and gives me any hope is the fact that many of us are still capable of both humor and most importantly…kindness.
Be kind to yourself today.
Be kind to others.
We’ll get through this, but our world will not look the same.
Last updated July 31, 2020