Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Ah, the weather is glorious today—cool with a breeze from the northwest and no humidity. It would have been a good early season day to play hooky and go to a hawkwatch. Alas, I did not do that. I am saving days for when migration really gets under way in another 3-4 weeks.

Unfortunately, the weather did not clear in time to observe the Perseid meteor shower. Hopefully, there will be another year for that.

If August's meteor shower isn’t an indication that summer is on the wane, perhaps my photo today will convince you.  It’s a milkweed plant.  The pods are fat and fully formed but still green, which means they have weeks  to go before the pods open and the seedlings dissipate.  Still,  the fact that the pods are already this large is itself an indication we are on the backside of summer.

When I was a kid I loved to play with the pods. If they were just at the perfect point of dryness, I could press them at the seam, and they would open perfectly, like a little treasure box. Inside were the white, fluffy seedlings that released into the air with a breath.  Of course, part of the fun was that not all of them opened perfectly, so I would have to go to the next one and try another.  Sometimes, it’s amazing what we considered fun in the pre-internet years.  Or perhaps I was just easily amused even then.  I would say opening milkweed pods was not as much fun as catching fireflies, but each season had its own natural charms to investigate and something about it to turn into a plaything.


Scott said...

Kali (at 61) loves to crack open the pods and spread the fluff. Of course, this is great for the plants because her joyful exuberance helps to disperse the seeds. Even a short walk during prime milkweed season can be an hour-long affair.

Anonymous said...

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