Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Nature walk

Took a noonday walk in McKinney Falls state park, beautiful day, cloudless sky, 80 degrees. Scissor tail flycatchers are here for the summer, Canada Warblers are passing through. Flowers cover the meadows: small purple wild garlics, a few big white rainlilies left from the last rain, lots of crow-poison, which looks like an onion but doesn't smell like one, sabadillas growing among the prickly pear, pale dusty-blue larkspurs, and a purple skullcap species--not sure of the name of it. Most of the foregoing are toxic if eaten. Not toxic if eaten, is a spectacular red cedar-sage, a true sage, and beautiful, growing in Smith rock-shelter, a big rock creekside overhang where humans lived for thousands of years until our own people got here and killed them, the people, not the flowers. The flowers tend to come back in the same spot, and it is not unreasonable to think they served as ornaments to the living room of Native Americans 3000 years ago in the same spot.
The Mexican Persimmons (Diospyros texana) are leafing out, bark smooth and white like pre-Raphaelite skin and leaves what you would call an unnatural chemical green, except that they are, like, leaves. It's a small tough tree which has a nice Japanese garden tendency to grow gnarled naturally, and the smooth bark makes it doubly appealing as an ornamental; the drawback is that the quarter sized fruits are coal black and fall down and smash like paintball splats on sidewaks, thus they are not commonly planted. Little boys sometimes eat them (they taste pretty good--they are real persimmons) making their mouths look like they had swallowed black paint, the point of doing it. I am trying to grow one of these persimmons in my yard, but someone unfortunately backed a car over it, so I had to cut it back and let it come out from the roots, a major setback for a man of my age with a slow-growing tree.

Photo of persimmon in McKinney Falls park.

Mexican persimmon

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