Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Elfin Shooting Stars

Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest

"Is this flower for real?" I asked aloud to no one in particular.  And then I laughed at myself, amused by my own childlike wonder of this new world I am exploring up here in the Columbia River Gorge.  I've always loved flowers, especially wildflowers, but I had never taken the time to really study them, learn their names, take photographs.  My vocabulary might have included poppies and yellow mustard, but usually it was, "Oh, look at those purple flowers.  Aren't they pretty?"

So enamored by this explosion of color after a long white winter, I find myself hiking every single day in search of a new bloom.  I bought Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest by Mark Turner and Phyllis Gustafson and it has become a staple in my messenger bag, along with wallet, cell phone and camera.
So diminutive, unless you get a close-up look, you might not register their unusual shape--a star pointing downward.  The name is apropos.  And utterly charming.  Shooting Star.

This time of year there are fields of them on the Washington side of the East Gorge and yesterday, I saw more on the Oregon side.  They love moist soil, rich in humus and fine sand which is deposited aplenty by the fierce winds that blow in these parts.
On a side note, Spring is arriving a bit late up here, not like the rest of the country.  But that's fine with me.  I hope that Spring lasts long into the Summer; that the flowers keep blooming and blooming and blooming.  Shooting up from the earth and aiming for the sky.

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