In the midst of walking toward the vantage point upon the Mountain Division Trail in Fryeburg, Maine, grows a grass of distinction for its form,
All fluffy and arced as the seedhead is, Giant Foxtail seems an apropos common name, though its known as a pest to farmers who grow corn.
I’m struck over and over again as I walk upon the paved pathway,
by the colors and textures of so many seeds ready to float astray.
And then there is a tree that cannot make up its mind
and chooses instead to be two of a kind.
Its known as a conifer because it grows needles each year,
but this Tamarack sheds them in deciduous form as winter draws near.
I next pause beside one who displays all ages,
from yesterday’s cones to today’s catkins and tomorrow’s buds waiting to turn spring’s pages.
Some of the Speckled Alder cones hide beneath tongues imitating piles of snakes stretching out,
made from galls caused by an infection to increase the surface for spores from a fungus to spout.
Another with long, feathery white plumes overpowers a chain-linked fence along the way,
the seeds of this native vine, Virgin’s Bower, await a breeze to help them stray.
Other seeds also announce their presence, these hanging from trees.
Being Black Locust, their pods are inedible legumes related to peas.
Tossed into the mix these scale-like needles that make me think of braids form a flat spray.
The tiny flower buds at the tips of Northern White Cedar’s leaves preparing to bloom next May.
What amazes me most about this extremely warm November day,
is spotting flowers in bloom like the colorful Calico Aster array.
And then there was a plant bright yellow in flower with lance-shaped leaves of green on display for no apparent reason,
This Showy Goldenrod being one I couldn’t recall noticing before but will recognize when we meet again in another season.
Even the insects are confused this fall,
such as this flower beetle taking advantage of an in-bloom Yarrow offering a nectar haul.
One of my favorites though, knows that the flowering season should have ended by now,
As the Evening Primrose showed off a Christmas display of deeply-veined basal leaves meant to wow.
Thankfully, a nest the size of a basketball I spot dangling from a branch shows signs it is no longer full of life,
The hornets who built the papery structure have abandoned it, causing us who follow the trail no more strife.
At last, returning to the vantage point from whence I have come,
I’m filled to the brim with colors and textures that would mean only death to some.
At the end of today’s journey I realize
this place is as rich in death as it is in life and I have won the prize.
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