Saturday, April 30, 2011

how 'bout them mayapples!

One of the early signs of spring on the forest floor, Mayapples are opening their leaves and working on producing the single fruit they will bear in a season. Just don't eat it. Learn more about this common native plant here.


Interesting that Podophyllum peltatum takes its name from the Latin for "shield shaped." Which made me think about a poem (first two stanzas below):


The Shield of Achilles
W. H. Auden


She looked over his shoulder
       For vines and olive trees,
     Marble well-governed cities
       And ships upon untamed seas,
     But there on the shining metal
       His hands had put instead
     An artificial wilderness
       And a sky like lead.

A plain without a feature, bare and brown,
   No blade of grass, no sign of neighborhood,
Nothing to eat and nowhere to sit down, 
   Yet, congregated on its blankness, stood
   An unintelligible multitude,
A million eyes, a million boots in line, 
Without expression, waiting for a sign.
[read the entire poem here]
Today would be a perfect day, with the sun shining and the air warm, to grab a book of poems, or a pen and paper to write your own, and head out onto the trails. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

board walking freshened up for spring

The Royal Botanical Gardens, with the assistance of volunteers from the Cootes Paradise club at McMaster, replaced the boardwalk at the Chegwin Trail in time for early spring hikes along this looping trail.

The trail begins and ends at McMaster University, and is a perfect lunchtime hike for office-dwellers and students in need of some R&R. Leaving campus behind, the sloping trails lead down to the treasured marsh, where the boardwalk allows you to stand among the reeds and watch the red-winged blackbirds set up for the season.

Looking south, east and west, from the boardwalk, the only visible sign of human engineering are some distant hydro towers.