Facing Down the Apocalypse IV: LadySlippers
At the edge of certainty at the edge of vision at the edge of a squishy two-track tunneling into shade, they appear when I most need them. With thumb and forefinger I tip one tiny face toward mine. Five petals flare like petite fingers above a pouch looking for all the world at the end of the world like a pink mottled heart about to throb.
What’s in a name here at the edge of everything we think we know?Calypso orchid, aka Calypso bulbosa, aka thumb-size goblet of orchid sex nodding yes. As a child I knew them as Lady Slippers, fistfuls of flowers in my aunt’s hands, aromatic bouquets wrapped gently in wet paper towels, handed out to family and friends in her version of love. Mom came to know them as threatened, taught us to hold them only with our eyes, that ownership is shared with sword fern and April moss and bees duped by the promise of nectar that isn’t there. They aren’t as sweet as they seem.
MOST RECENT BLOG POSTS
Last evening I dropped a tree over the edge of the world as I know it. The Douglas-fir died in exactly the spot I directed, sent there with a chainsaw and hand-winch. I am not an expert feller of trees, although decades ago I did make my living dropping lodgepole pine around what then were million-dollar homes.
On the front porch of the Johnny Gunter place, I ride the incoming swell of nightfall. The last logging rigs rumbled out of the valley two hours ago. A single robin chirrups from the meadow growing April green before me. Wind from the west draws an iron overcast across the evening sky.
There sure is a lot of sex at the end of the world as I thought I knew it. After a socially distant run on the chip trail, I finish with a sweaty stroll through the neighborhood park, pausing on a footbridge across the small creek. The air has become a breathing thing, ribs of willow and cottonwood exhaling …