Thursday, October 28, 2010

Indian Hemp Seedpods

Imagine a nice fall day planned for birdwatching, and me riding with my friend towards the local state park, hiking shoes on feet, binoculars in hand. Suddenly the clouds burst and rain pours down. We take a side trip to a local coffee drive through, and with coffee in hand we decide to still go to the state park, and to birdwatch from the car. (Go ahead, laugh!) We drive out of town and down the long road to the state park, but around the last curve we see that the gates are closed due to tree work along the roadsides. All the guys working turn to stare at us as we do our three point turn. Oh well. No problem. My friend lives close to the state park, so we decide to birdwatch from the car over there.
We head down the old farm road at her house, drive around the pond and over the dam. The car, being a new hybrid, is very quiet, so we did actually see some birds... A Kingfisher, Bluebirds, a Northern Harrier, a flock of Purple Finches, Song Sparrows... Even though we were moving, the loudest noise was the that of the raindrops coming in the wide-open windows and hitting inside of the front doors. SPLAT SPLAT SPLAT splat splat SPLAT splat.

On a grassy hill above the pond was a big patch of gray. "That's the patch of Indian Hemp," my friend said, "It was covered in butterflies this summer...but what are those yellow leaves in the middle of it?"

Before I could say I didn't know, the beautiful new hybrid headed off the clear road and up the hill. We plowed through grass plumes that towered over our heads - other plants scraped and scratched along the undercarriage.

"So," I said, "this Lexxus is an offroad vehicle, right?"

"Oh, yeah," she said. "It's an SUV."

"Alrighty, then," I said. We headed toward the Indian Hemp patch and rolled right into the empty, gray stems as tall as the car. All the leaves had long since fallen off so we drove a loop through the stems. The yellow leaves she'd noticed were from a Indian Hemp plant that hadn't lost its leaves yet for some reason. As she pulled away I noticed seedpods. "Oh, look, there are seedpods! They're split open. See the seeds?"

Another donut circle brought the car right back to the same Indian Hemp seedpods dangling from the bare stems. I leaned out into the rain and picked a few.
After hiking with Daisy today I sat at my counter to draw the seedpods in my journal. "Next time I'm driving," I thought. I mean, even though her car is an SUV, somehow it makes more sense to use my ten-year-old Jeep to go offroad.


nancysbaldwin said...

ha ha ha ha ... wish I"d been there for the ride.

Helen said...

It was fun, as usual! And for the record, I'm sure we'll have many more off-road adventures in that hybrid...I mean, now that we've broken it in, why not? Come join us!