Sunday, August 07, 2005


Last year on July 17th I rounded a bend on the river walk and found that the lush grass meadow was gone, mowed down to stubble by the invisible, inelegant custodians of the path. It was shocking, almost painful. Within weeks, though, a new crop of interesting weeds had grown as interesting as the first.

This year I was prepared for the inevitable arrival of the grim reaper. A few weeks ago when the gangly, towering sweet clover began to encroach on cycling and jogging space, he cut a narrow swath on each side of the path. He spared the three small meadows. I knew their reprieve would be brief.

Last year the largest meadow was predominantly a sea of tall grass, some with airy, elegant seedhead, others with more heavy, drooping wheat-like inflorescences. This year clover was the main theme, first big red clovers, then tall, branching sweet clovers. When the reaper arrived, the red clovers had long since blackened and collapsed into a lumpy rug on the meadow floor. The sweet clovers were going to seed. Between them there were Queen Anne's Lace in all stages of bloom and involution. Now there's just stubble.

Sometimes you just have to dial back to zero and start afresh.

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