Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Virgin's Bower

On Sunday morning, I took my usual weekend walk along the roadside in Lanark to collect the detritus which accumulates in roadside troughs, trenches and thickets; empty beer bottles and cans, styrofoam burger containers, old newspapers, scraps of polyfilm, plastic cups, tin cans and other items too toxic and unpleasant to mention specifically here.

I think the very least one can do as a passionate devotee of Gaia and Her wild places and careful custodian of a few hundred priceless rural acres of fields, hedgerows, stones and trees is to be respectful of them, to learn to know them and give thanks for them — to keep things relatively tidy. That is not simply an aesthetic issue, although aesthetics certainly do enter into the equation. Much of the detritus left along the roadside is not biodegradable, and wild creatures can be gravely wounded by the sordid rubbish which visiting motorists so thoughtlessly hurl onto the verges as they hurtle along our rural roads at breakneck speeds.

It was very hot and humid here on the weekend, and the weekly exercise was both unpleasant and wearying, but cleaning up is a task I have set myself, and it needs to be carried out on a regular basis. As I pottered slowly along the roadside on Sunday, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the Virgin's Bower (Clematis virginiana) vines which drape themselves over the old fences along the front of the property had expanded significantly this year, and everything was in riotous bloom.

My resident wild cousin of the domestic clematis also goes by the name of the "Devils's Darning Needles" here in the north. Later in the season, the female plants will be covered with tens of thousands of clusters of silky seed fronds which glisten in the sunlight and make for astonishing photographs. This weekend, there were masses and masses of tiny white blooms clambering over everything in sight, and the bees were absolutely "over the moon' with this unforeseen abundance.

There are a few lovely photos to go here (or rather a few very BAD photos of lovely things), but Blogger refuses to upload any images at all this morning.


Jennifer S. said...

it's great that you have dedicated your time to cleaning up. Litter is so frustrating and disgusting. Looking forward to your photos I hope.

Kim Antieau said...

I just truly and deeply adore you. Thank you for all you do, darlin'!