May 2nd, 2005 - 16:45:13
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Voices of Spencer Creek
Hail, sister tree!
In God's universe
you and I are one.
You support my life
with oxygen to clear my blood.
I exhale carbon dioxide
to nourish your growth.
I sometimes rue your rootedness
as I cavort from here to there
but you dance with freedom and grace
when passing breezes travel through.
Then when a gale comes along
fir branches shed their tips.
Is Mother Nature pruning back
small twigs and bigger sticks?
That traveling air that flows by you,
what far off flavors does it carry?
telling you of foreign places;
of times and people both so merry?
Do you send along in turn
a fertile taste
of your time and place
for other trees across the seas?
So now I see that rootedness
needn't be a handicap.
Your world view may far exceed
My limited travels o'er the map.
My daily walk the other day had a specific destination. I walk to keep this 87 year old body mobile as long as possible. The destination on this particular day was to discover whether my favorite spot for finding calypso orchids in bloom was actually colored with those little "lady-slipper" looking plants. This is the season, and my neighbor had reported that he found some. My spot is very shady, and the bloom there is often later than in more open places.
I brought home three flowers, feeling apologetic about having picked them, for although I have understood that picking is fatal to that particular plant, my botanist friend says if the root connection with the underground humus is unbroken, the plant will probably survive. However it may take a few years to build up to another bloom...
Years ago when chatting with my neighbor Elsie about the "good old days" of her childhood (that would have been in the "30s) she told me her mother and she used to pick bouquets of these lovely wildflowers in the woods on the place where we now live, and take them to sell at the Farmers' Market in Eugene. I remember when every few pennies were a godsend, back during that big depression. And I shudder to think how many plants they may have damaged by that picking, but today there are still places in the same woods where those orchids make a brave showing each spring.
The Pacific States Wildflowers book describes calypso orchids as follows: "Each plant has a single bright pink flower on a leafless stem above a single oval leaf. The slipperlike lip petal is tipped with two horns, mottled with orange, yellow and white, 3 to 10 inches in height."
Copyright ©2005 by Lois Barton
Now Available on Compact Disk: Stories from The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte
Three and a half years of years Lois Barton's stories–so you can read them without going online!
Lois Barton's Selected Works
Volume I, Chanticleer's Tales
Send $10, plus postage of $1.50 to
84889 Harry Taylor Rd.
Eugene, OR 97405
Writer and historian
Lois Barton is an 85 year old mother of eight children. She has lived on the same rural acreage just south of Eugene, Oregon for more than 50 years. All their children learned to milk, to keep the woodboxes filled, to do their share of household and garden chores. Her first book, Spencer Butte Pioneers, was published in 1982 when her youngest started to school. Since then she wrote five other books: Daughter of the Soil, now out of print; One Woman's West; A Quaker Promise Kept; and Through My Window, autobiographical sketches, sequel to Daughter Of the Soil.
Through the years Lois has been a 4H leader, president of the neighborhood association, a precinct committee woman, election board clerk, editor of the Lane County Historian, and a life long Quaker. She spent a month in Southeast Asia in 1974 as a member of a church peace mission, after working for ten years as director of the Eugene Chapter of the World Without War Council.
Follow the links of the Voices of Spencer Creek for the most recent articles by Lois Barton, including The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Cranberries,
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Endurance Riding,
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Butterflies and Community Development,
and The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: The Last Gift.
See more of Lois Barton's articles in West By Northwest.org online magazine's archives:
Visit the Heron Rookery
Sauerkraut and All That
Charlotte's Overdose - Just who is Charlotte and what did she take?
The Midwife- The midnight call awoke an unusual midwife.
The Mystery of Fox Hollow - Fact and fiction meet in this story of the origins of Faith Rock.
Trees, Tame Trees and Squirrel.
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