i've been spending my sundays out hiking: easter, we went out to the burn and watched life struggling up through the ashes, and saturday night, after spending a disappointing day in phoenix, we camped out at the agua fria
, and spent all day yesterday following the river. well, let's be honest here: spent all day yesterday looking at plants. we found about two dozen species of wildflowers, several of which none of us had seen before, and although it took us a few hours to make the ususally-fifteen-minute hike from the trailhead to the river, after a while we gave up on trying to key everything out or look it up in one of our guides, and just marveled at the immense amount of life surrounding us. we had no particularly amazing experience, like the herd of deer that stampeded us last week, or the bobcat we watched catch a rabbit down by the desert museum
, but we did have one long, beautiful day of perfect sunny weather, perfect cold, running river, and a riot of flowers that may bloom once every ten years.
last night, in my dream, for reasons i don't remember, i listed everything i am grateful for. it started with my family: loving parents, safe home, close siblings; and my friends: trustworthy, gentle, kind. all the loves i have had and will have, all the people indelibly made part of myself. and then, for a childhood that raised me to believe in who i am, with good habits that help keep me healthy. ah, and then health. thankful that i am able to climb the hill to argue over smoketree
, thankful that my lungs work, and my eyes. and eventually, i found myself, dreaming, naming (in latin, no less) every plant i could think of: thankful for galea spinosa, cercocarpus montanus, arctostaphylos pringlei
and pungens, salix goddingii, populus fremontii
, and it went on and on, names i can't remember and maybe don't know, all the plants i've ever seen, the pines and oaks and flowers, the plants that make food, the plants that make air, the plants that make life.
i'm taking a cue from this quarter, and the depth of frustration i've felt when i want to be geeking out in the woods, but instead i have to write a paper about the role of women in traditional shaker culture (which is awesome, by the way, but simply not where my interest lies right now). in the fall (after my summer of farmwork), i'll be taking plant bio, soil science, and geology, and helping build the herbarium. most of what i say at that point will probably be unintelligable to most people - one of my good geeky friends is graduating this may, and i can only hope that he sticks around for a while so i'll have someone to talk to when i need to clarify whether a given plant is glaucinus or ochroleucus. or when i need to make sure i'm still a real person, because sometimes its hard to tell.
(and sometimes i think i'm just fading away.)