The pasqueflowers (anemone patens) are throwing a party on the ridges of McKnight Prairie. According to tradition, pasques bloom during the week before Easter, and in my experience this has often been the case. This year, Easter was early and spring was slow to arrive, but I'm happy to report that the pasqueflowers are blooming in time for Greek Orthodox Easter this coming Sunday. Pasques always seem festive to me. In his Journal of a Prairie Year (1985), the late Paul Gruchow wrote: "Pasqueflowers bloom at an inhospitable time in a quirky season. They carry the impression of wit and grace. If a pasqueflower were a person, one would want to have it come to dinner at the first opportunity. Surely, that would be the occasion for much laughter and bright conversation." In A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold had a different impression of the personality of pasqueflowers; he wrote that they "endure snows, sleets, and bitter winds for the privilege of blooming alone." They are the first flowers to bloom on the high, exposed ridges of the prairie, but the clusters of pastel flowers are bright and cheerful. It always fills me with hope and gratitude to see them blooming among the brown grasses, year after year.
Pasqueflowers in McKnight Prairie
Geum triflorum), pictured above, was also preparing to bloom at McKnight, and as I was walking back to the car, I startled one of our state mammals, the thirteen-lined ground squirrel (better known as the "golden gopher"), from the middle of the path.
On the way home, I drove along 42 and 79 and into Northfield on Wall Street Rd. Along the way, I passed this monstrosity going up in the "Rosewood" development. There was a Sold sign up in front of this monstrosity. Is this a private, single-family home? Someone with this much money can probably afford to feed a small African nation—or invite a small African nation over to spend the night. After spending a pleasant half hour with the inexpressibly beautiful and unpretentious pasqueflowers—so perfectly adapted to their environment—the sight of this made me sick.
If you go out to McKnight Prairie, keep to the path, walk gently, don't pick anything or leave anything behind, and be grateful that a few such places still exist beyond the conspicuous excesses of modern sprawl.
In other news, my poem "Jane Austen's Toes" has been nominated by the editor of the Apple Valley Review for inclusion in Best New Poets 2008. A nomination doesn't guarantee inclusion in the book, but it is a much-appreciated honor.