Nothing Gold Can Stay

Tall Goldenrod (Solidago altissima) ~ Hardin County

When Robert Frost wrote his wonderfully memorable poem titled “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” the ephemeral golds of spring — those first leaves that so quickly lose their luster — provided the inspiration.

That said, I often think of his words in fall, when the landscape is washed in waves of gold: seaside and fragrant goldenrod in coastal areas, tall goldenrod farther inland.  Occasional goldenrods bloom here in every month of the year, particularly along the coast, but autumn is its most glorious season. Having arrived, it already is ending: not even goldenrod can stay.

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
Tall goldenrod ~ Nacogdoches Native Plant Center

 

Comments always are welcome.

The Seventy-Seven Minute Wonder

8:06 a.m.

On September 19, five days after Hurricane Nicholas made landfall, waters in the Brazoria Wildlife Refuge ponds had receded somewhat, but this water lily still wore the necklace of detritus it had collected as it pushed its way through the water’s surface.

Other lilies already had opened, but the loop of grasses around this one’s top had prevented it from joining them. Its slightly odd shape brought to mind a garlic clove, and I paused to photograph it before continuing along the boardwalk.

After a mosquito-shortened visit to a nearby trail, I passed the lily again, forty-one minutes later. Despite impediments, a single petal had worked itself free.

8:47 a.m.

In little more than another half-hour, only two or three petals still were impeded by the grasses.

9:23 a.m.

Witness to such an opening, I couldn’t help wondering if Dylan Thomas’s famous lines were rooted in a similar experience:

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

 

Comments always are welcome.

Floral Filigree

Not rain but dew gave this fading neighborhood rain lily (Zephyranthes chlorosolen) its unusual appearance.

I’ve often shown the brilliant white petals and sepals of these flowers in full bloom. While both can be tinged with pink, and while it isn’t unusual for the flowers to become a darker pink as they fade, in this instance the color suffused the entire flower in a way that seemed unusual.

Even more remarkably, the transparency created by the dewdrops and the patterns that emerged because of them reminded me of the finely-drawn gold filigree work that typifies much West African jewelry.

They also reminded me of this favorite poem from W.S. Merwin, who understood that not all jewels can be found in a shop.

Now in the blessed days of more and less
when the news about time is that each day
there is less of it I know none of that
as I walk out through the early garden
only the day and I are here with no
before or after and the dew looks up
without a number or a present age
                                 “Dew Light” ~ W.S. Merwin

 

Comments always are welcome.

Budding Blue, Blooming Blue

more quiet than dawn
faint ripples of lavender
summer’s sweet ending

 

silent explosion
splitting the green-starred darkness
a whiff of blue scent

 

Comments always are welcome.
A Texas native, the blue water lily (Nymphaea elegans) blooms in spring and summer. These were found at the Brazoria Wildlife Refuge on September 5.

To A Sunflower

A hint of autumn ~ Maximilian Sunflower

When I discovered the first Maximilian sunflowers of the season — a sure sign of autumn despite our current heat and humidity — my first thought echoed the first line of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “To a Skylark.”  I had fun adapting some stanzas for the flowers; you can read the original poem here.

Hail to thee, blithe Flower!
Weed thou never wert
That from Heaven, or near it,
Shinest thy full rays
In spreading gleams of unpremeditated art.
A continuation of summer ~ Common Sunflower
Higher still and higher
From the earth thou springest
Like a blaze of fire;
The blue sky thou seekest,
And seeking still dost grow, and growing ever singest.
Maximilian sunflower with Black-eyed Susans
In the golden lightning
Of the sinking sun,
O’er which clouds are bright’ning,
Thou dost bloom and run;
Like unbodied joy whose race is just begun.

 

Comments always are welcome.