But this hits me right in the heart.
Without realizing it, we are becoming the world’s first indoor species. Are we too late to change course?
“We should take wandering outdoor walks so that the mind might be nourished and refreshed by the open air and deep breathing.”
I headed up the Rattlesnake Saturday because the story is the beargrass is blooming this year, and I figured I knew exactly where to find some. To my recollection it is the first time I ever went out into the woods specifically on the hunt for some kind of plant or flower. I found it, along with many other blooming, beautiful wildflowers. The smell in the largest concentrations of them was intoxicating. It was a perfect day outdoors; several hours of sunlight, shade, and the sounds and smells of the natural world. It is a kind of soul work, have no doubt.
As for beargrass, this is from the wonderful reference book Rocky Mountain Natural History: Grand Teton to Jasper by Daniel Mathews:
Once you’ve seen beargrass in bloom you will have no trouble ever recognizing its wonderful flower heads again. But the flowering schedule is erratic. You often see only the bunched leaves. Communities of beargrass may go for years without one bloom — and then hundreds bloom at once. That often happens for several years in a row after a fire that reduces the tree canopy but leaves the soil cool enough for the beargrass roots to survive and resprout. Like the century plant, beargrass clumps grow slowly, accumulating photosynthates for years before venturing a flowering stalk. Having flowered, the clump dies, but its nutrients are siphoned off through the rhizome to a new offset clump.
Spring’s tender leaf bases figure in bear diets, hence “beargrass’; but the neatly clipped leaf bases you see here and there are more likely the work of a “brushpicker” gathering foliage for the florist trade.
By summer the leaves are wiry and strong. Native Americans wove them into baskets and hats.
Mathews writes more, but you get the idea. Speaking of hats, it was the trial run of my new Filson hat, which I think is quite snappy. Here are some shots from the outing, including the initial, post-tag removal moments of me under my hat.
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From Song for the Blue Ocean, by Carl Safina:
Windy or not, a day this beautiful has to be lived. The day is bright and clear, the sky blue, and the dry air feels light. A northerly wind stirs a primal urge to move. The geese feel it, and so do I. Perhaps it is a last internal vestige from a time, long ago, when we migrated with the seasons across open plains, following the animals we pursued for food. Perhaps that is why the sight of migrating geese arrests our attention, why we feel the pull. We want to go, to travel in fresh or moody weather, taking in each newly revealed vista.
Some on various saunters, many from the chair looking out my window in my office.
Happy spring to a couple morning visitors outside my window.