A Return to Beauty(berries)

San Bernard Oak ~ May 7, 2020

Eager to visit some of my favorite spots after our unusual February freeze, I trekked out to the San Bernard Oak last weekend. Conditions along the boardwalk leading to the champion Coastal Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) differed considerably from those I’d found last May — ‘lush’ and ‘verdant’ having been replaced by ‘sere’ and ‘bare.’

Still, some of the empty space around the bottom of the tree was intentional. A second visit last spring showed evidence of human hands at work; much of the growth around the trunk had been cleared away, leaving room for an American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) to thrive.

San Bernard Oak and Beautyberry ~ May 23, 2020

As a native shrub, the beautyberry had a decent chance of surviving our unexpected ice and snow. At first glance, its transformation into a collection of sticks didn’t seem to bode well, but when I took a closer look, I found tiny leaves, less than a half-inch long, emerging from those bare branches.

As temperatures rise and rain falls, leaves will increase, buds will follow, and flowers will lead to fruits.

When the berries finally appear, birds and other woodland creatures will feed on them, while humans will rejoice in their beauty, and perhaps make a little jelly or wine for their own enjoyment.


Comments always are welcome.

A Slow Rising

American Lotus ~ Nelumbo lutea
Brazos Bend State Park
“Be a lotus in the pond,” she said, “opening
slowly, no single energy tugging
against another but peacefully,
all together.”
I couldn’t even touch my toes.
“Feel your quadriceps stretching?” she asked.
Well, something was certainly stretching.
Standing impressively upright, she
raised one leg and placed it against
the other, then lifted her arms and
shook her hands like leaves. “Be a tree,” she said.
I lay on the floor, exhausted.
But to be a lotus in the pond —
opening slowly, and very slowly rising —
that I could do.
                                  “First Yoga Lesson” ~ Mary Oliver

Comments always are welcome.

Appetizers and Leftovers

When it comes to nature’s floral feast, buds are akin to appetizers: tiny bits of delectable beauty that whet our appetite for what’s to come. Here, a single coreopsis bud (Coreopsis basalis) gleams against the glow of bluebonnets and other coreopsis at the Rockport City Cemetery.

Even after a several-course meal, a bit of sweetness is nice. Here, a white prickly poppy, though reduced to stigma, stamens, and prickles, remains sweet enough to attract what appears to be a tiny tumbling flower beetle (Mordella sp.). The very opposite of the over-petaled example I’d seen near this spot, it attracted my eye, as well.

Comments always are welcome.