Noticing the rhythms of nature, ongoing through the texture of the city, opens me up to awe, delight and a sense of being liberated from routine perceptions and concerns. My husband, David, and I came out of a Sam Fuller movie at the Carpenter Center, Harvard’s film archive last week and heard a mother hawk and her babies “Peeet-” ing loudly to each other. Then I saw one of the small, round babies fluttering across the dusky sky, working hard to stay airborne while Mom encouraged her or him from atop Emerson Hall. The baby hawk was experimenting with crossing the street. Flying practice seems to be continuing nightly. And yesterday, I walked around Fresh Pond with Lama Surya Das and we saw a parent nuthatch teaching a small flock of baby nuthatches how to creep along a treetrunk and look for bugs. You can tell the babies by their bewildered expression and how they occasionally have a hard time, stumbling on the bark’s roughness. So cute! (May these wild beings survive in our densely packed, dangerous human habitations…..)
And lastly, more mysteriously seasonal — I share a post from one of my favorite plant websites, Plant Delights, a nursery that offers many rare and beautiful woodland plants for the garden. Their post about black bamboo is well written and I share it in entirety. With a touch of humor they let us in on an open secret of the plant world: that all of the black bamboo on Earth is consummating a 100-year cycle of sexuality, death and rebirth. The natural world communicates with itself in some way — how amazing.
Here’s their post:
The bamboo world has been rocked over the last few years as most of the black bamboo has begun its flowering cycle. While flowering is good in most plants, such is not the case with bamboo since, like agaves, it dies after flowering. Like century plants, a bamboo plant also takes about 100 years to flower but unlike agaves, bamboo offsets don’t survive. Since most bamboo is grown from divisions, when a particular clone flowers, it flowers everywhere around the world within a certain time window, influenced slightly by growing conditions.
Black bamboo began flowering worldwide in 2008, with many in the US starting only in the last year. Bamboo flowers are brown and insignificant, so most folks won’t even notice until the plant begins a steady decline. The sad part is that everyone’s black bamboo will die, but the up side is that more plants will be grown from seed and the new generation crop will have another 100-year lifespan. Also, all those folks who were lied to by retailers who told them black bamboo clumped will have their problem resolved. The take home lesson is that if you’re buying the running black bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra), be sure to ask if it’s a new generation plant from seed or the clone which is currently flowering.