Wednesday 1 August 2018. Fog and Hidden Royal Catchfly

It was 60 degrees F under cloudy skies as I got Shadow out of the garage (Rhododendron’s seat currently is adjusted for a friend who is staying with us) to go to Meadowbrook Park in search of royal catchfly.

On the way encountered fog.

Rode straight through to Meadowbrook until the mandatory stop at the rabbit statue bridge over McCullough Creek.

A little farther along on the other side of the bridge and around the corner were stalks of blooming compass plants. And what could be more photogenic than stalks of blooming compass plants but stalks of blooming compass plants in the early morning mist?

The fog diffused and expanded the sun’s light behind the shrubs and trees.

Farther along, saw swamp milkweed (past the peak of its bloom) in the willowy wet area

as well as the perennial patch of Liatris near the two young trees (oak and cherry, if I recall correctly)

accented this year by robust blooming compass plants.

Tall Coreopsis were abundant and healthy looking.

Stopped to see the fog across the small bridge over Douglas Creek,

like a gateway to the future.

Crossed and looked over the sunrise on the misty prairie, noticing flowers of giant (native!) ragweed.

and turned left onto the unpaved path,

which was closely bordered with compass plants and other prairie flowers, as well as (wet and leaning into the path, which dampened the nature-joy a little) prairie grasses, inviting more photos.

Saw lots of tick trefoil,

attractively beaded with dew. Saw dew-beaded spiderwebs.

Saw several quite fresh-looking purple coneflowers,

ironweed and occasional yellow coneflowers ,

Culver’s root,

and more compass plants and spiderwebs.

The scent of mountain mint was distinct.

Big bluestem, apparently having a good year, was in bloom.

Its trembling stamens always evoke for me “Denn alles Fleisch es ist wie Gras…” as interpreted by Brahms (as I have mentioned in previous years at this time, in case it sounds familiar).

So far the gifts of the morning prairie were rich and abundant, but I still wanted to behold the pinnacle of the prairie summer: royal catchfly.

Walked to the very middle of the prairie and searched the area to the north of the path and finally found a plant with a handful of bright red flowers.

Looked for more, remembering widespread blooms of previous years, but did not see them from the path, alas. It was a disappointment, never mind the lovely specimen in front of me and the wonders that came just before.

Wrestled with this ingratitude and was about to resign myself to the disappointment, when I decided to walk out into the wet grass for a last look. And there they were!

Here and there, down below the taller vegetation, there were dew-wet red flowers. This year they were more crowded among other plants, somewhat tempering the effects, but still was delighted to see them.

Looked for another flower of this time of year, cream gentians, but only saw buds today.

The blooms will be abundant soon, no doubt!

Noticed some (at least two distinct specimens) peculiar animal “droppings” on the path; my guess was that they were of to coyote. Coyote poop tends to look similar like that of dogs only usually rougher, full of seeds and other plant bits, etc. These actually were smoother than dog poop, strangely so. I can’t be sure it wasn’t dog; in any event, I avoided them on way in to the prairie, but, alas, distracted by the soaking I got from the dewey vegetation, not on the way out. No pictures.

As I made my way back the sun was climbing higher above the horizon and the morning fog was dissipating; the smaller dewdrops were evaporating from the spiderwebs.

Fleeting summer! How good to have been one with your splendor for a while!

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