Saturday, May 28, 2016

Beautiful flora and fauna. It's not all a 'walk in the park', though!

Have been meaning to return to some previous 'wondering', about what sorts of wildflowers would be growing along the roadways in the Midwest.  And here I am sorry not to have any photos.  It is not too surprising that most of what grows 'wild' around here are grasses.  Beautiful, for sure, and if it is not mowed, some is more than waist high. There are also some scattered vetch, mustard and other, mostly small and inconspicuous flowers I haven't any names for.   Lots of purple ones seem to be 'stock'; it even smells sweet. It's been surprising to see a lot of  'ditchweed' (cannabis), that I'm told is left from the days when Nebraska was a hemp-growing state.  Domestically, I have been amazed at the lilacs (now past flowering) that are huge and prolific, as well as some of the biggest, leafiest tradescantia (spiderwort) I have ever seen, in all of the usual colors, as well as some unusual ones.

Around here the squirrels are either red or black.  I have heard that the black ones are a legally protected species in parts of Iowa.  Oh, and the birds!  There has been so much interesting birdsong - and me without a nice compact guide...  One singing bird I did identify was a cardinal; their song makes me smile whenever I hear one.  And a very flashy yellow and black bird is the Nebraska state bird - a meadowlark.  Distressingly, I see lots of animals (mostly birds) dead on the highway.  Om Mani Padme Hum...

It is tempting to post all of the best of this venture, and leave out the relentless, sweaty, daily effort.  I often feel very 'middle-class' and self-indulgent around the subjects of food and shelter.  But the work is pretty grueling at times, and I flatter myself in thinking I've earned some comforts!  Yesterday's observations included:  salty sweat dripping into my eyes and burning (where's my sweatband?); the sound of traffic on concrete roadway is so much more punishing on the ears than when the road is made of asphalt...  I hear that there is a challenging set of hills in the eastern part of Iowa, where I will be in a couple of days.  But first - there is a good museum to see here in Omaha! 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Melissa:
    I just read about your passage through Hastings NE in the May 19 Hastings Tribune article and know Antje who teaches at Hastings College with my husband, Jim. I wish you happy trails as you head east. Your observation of the Cardinal singing was similar to what I notice about them. I live in town and they frequent my yard often. I love all the birds and fauna that grows in this area, if you can get past the deluge of corn and soybeans that dominate our once "wild" places. Good luck to you and thank you for walking for the environment and Mother Nature.