Refuge of Moisture, Scent…..Life

By Greg Lecker

I arrive at Spring Peeper Meadow just before sunset. The heavy, warm day has transferred its heat to the abundant foliage. Now, the land gives back this energy in softness, moisture and fragrance. The mown turf paths are springy with thick grass. Just slightly damp; though not yet dewy.

Turkey foot (Big Blue Stem) towers over everything. Through the netting of three-toed flower heads and plant stems, I see a variety of sky glories – to the west bright setting sun…..to the north, building clouds.

Turkey Foot and Goldenrod

Turkey Foot and Goldenrod

Even more thickly than do its pale pink flowers and blue-gray green foliage surround, the scent of Wild Bergamot (Bee Balm) astounds. Imagine Earl Grey Tea fused with oregano.

Gray Headed Coneflower

Gray Headed Coneflower

Bright yellow petals of Gray Headed Coneflower droop – mirroring my body’s own flagging in the day’s humidity.

Cup Plant in Full Bloom

Cup Plant in Full Bloom

Another yellow plant, Cup Plant, is now in full bloom. Flower stalks stretch upwards above the diagonal cups formed by leaves that clasp flower stems. Water collected from Thursday evening’s downpour remains two days later – shaded from evaporation by the large rough leaves. In the hot, dry habitats where these plants grow, this life-giving moisture must be welcomed by its inhabitants.

Cup Plant and Trail

Cup Plant and Trail

Along the trail, I side-step a bit of canine scat. Not just because dogs are prohibited, but because of its unusual, wild, unprocessed contents, I diagnose the scat as from a coyote. Camping overnight during the recent blue moon, I was serenaded by the distant sounds of coyotes. Though the campgrounds were shared by many dogs accompanying their human alpha leaders, man’s best friends were not the source of the distant yelping.

Coyote Scat

Coyote Scat

I do not hear, nor do I see birds. A number of bumblebees hover around wild bergamot, escaping my camera’s capture. Nature is slowing for the evening; settling in for the night. Insect repellent applied in the early morning has worn off. Mosquitos are lightly testing me – they usher me along the paths, hurrying me along on my way to my next appointment.

While I often enjoy the quiet solace of Spring Peeper Meadow, I do encourage visitors to expand their perception of the Arboretum from mere flower gardens to nature refuge.

Greg Lecker is a Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Nature Notes. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s