21 September 2010

"Bits of Silken Down"

Thistledown, Patterson Canyon (near Magdalena), NM, Sept. 2010
"The milkweed pods are breaking,
And the bits of silken down
Float off upon the autumn breeze
Across the meadows brown."
-Cecil Cavendish, The Milkweed

The meadows here aren't brown yet, and the photo above shows our far more abundant thistle rather than milkweed, but yes, the breezes have an autumnal tinge even on these warm, sunny September days. Summer doesn't want to let go yet -- we have had refreshing summer-like rainstorms the past two afternoons -- but the "bits of silken down" seem to be everywhere lately, just another sign of the ripening and dispersing that marks the close of another season of growth and abundance. Even my garden has been fairly abundant this year, with enough onions, Roma tomatoes, basil, and oregano to make my own spaghetti sauce and almost a dozen butternut squash ripening for storage so we can taste summertime during the cold, windy days of autumn and winter. Each year brings a better harvest as I get the hang of New Mexico "gardening," which involves endless wrestling with the elements and workarounds for issues like cold nights (not good for tomatoes or peppers) and the lime deposits from our hard water that endlessly clog the drip-system emitters that are essential for adequate hydration of these plants we're trying to grow in a less-than-hospitable environment.

The thistle, however, enjoys this land just fine thankyouverymuch...

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