Just before Noon yesterday, I suddenly remembered the milkweed (asclepias syriaca) plant loaded with seed pods that I saw down at the fireline crossroads last week — the one that comes back from bare, sandy earth every spring. The thought that the seed pods might have opened stirred me from my comfortable torpor. I pulled on shoes and sunglasses, grabbed my camera and told Buck I would be right back.
He laughed and said, “Have fun.” He has seen this act before, especially in the blooming season.
I cut across a strip of grass to an area I call “the clearing.” It might be a space for a traditional lawn, since it is a flat open area in front of the house. Each fall, though, Buck and our friend, Harold, plant it in wheat, oats and rye. It provides beauty for us and green browse for deer all winter long. By late May, it has grown tall, turned a pale gold color, and is heavy with seeds. Turkeys, bobwhite, buntings and other birds share the bounty with deer and rabbits. I knocked seeds to the ground just walking across it to reach the fire line road.
A red-tailed hawk expressed himself as I traversed his hunting ground. When I reached the milkweed plant, I could see the seed pods were still intact, and so I kept on walking, looking for some treasure for the day. The day had turned hot and very bright. My step quickened, as I thought about the boggy area nearby. Maybe those wild carnivorous sundews had gotten bigger.
I forgot all about the sundews when I got there. This area has a couple of hollowed out areas that are almost always full of water. They were full of tadpoles! Hundreds of them!
I almost ran home, eager to tell Buck. Luckily, I had slowed my pace before I got back to the clearing, and – just in time – looked up to see a beautiful young whitetail deer standing in the golden grain, staring right at me.