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Essay The Invigorating Meadow

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The Invigorating Meadow

The burgeoning green of the meadow in May was gloriously lush, radiant really. I searched for enough descriptive words to distinguish the greens I saw—emerald and viridian; olive, pea and lime; verdigris and malachite. I became giddy surrounded by robust greenery. Indeed, it was a green felicity, and the trials and doldrums of winter disappeared with the exhilaration I felt watching emerging blades, vines, and shoots.

As the meadow’s growth flourished, I kept track of the succession of plants. Golden coins of flowering dandelions carpeted the new grass for a week before fluffing into white globes of seed- carrying filaments. The grasses grew taller. Buttercups and blue flag iris colored the meadow with gold and purple, and daisies added their white blooms.

Grasses began to bud. Grass holds its highest energy content, that is, the most digestible dry matter, at this stage in its growth. Once bloom comes, nutritional values drop. However, the variety of grasses growing in the meadow do not bloom at the same time, and the mix of other hay plants, including clovers, vetch and alfalfa are best left to harvest while in partial bloom. This makes the optimal cutting time difficult to schedule. The weather conditions also influence the time to cut. We ask our neighbor to delay the mowing of our meadow until the bobolink youngsters have safely fledged. In a cool wet summer such as the one we have this year, parts of the meadow may be left uncut until August, providing mulch hay rather than animal feed.

This year I tried to identify as many kinds of grasses as I could. I examined the flower clusters with their delicate spikelets as they opened. Grass flowers are small and inconspicuous but wonderfully in...

... middle of paper ...

...ew leaves in spring. If the winter snows are deep, the mice and voles, with snug nests of grass and networks of tunnels beneath the white blanket, will prosper on meals of grass roots and seeds fallen from our bird feeders. My circuits of the meadow on snowshoes or skis will reveal that life is lived in earnest. Along the woods’ edge, the tracks of a snowshoe hare, separated by distances over a meter long and overlain by footprints of a sprinting fox, display the drama of survival. The seeds of yellow birch, shaped like little birds with wings outspread, lie scattered over the crust of snow in February waiting a thaw and the slow descent to the soil where spring sun and warmth will start germination. Persistent and valiant, this place invigorates me.

“This fevers me, this sun on green,
On green glowing, the young spring.”
—Richard Eberhart, A Bravery of Earth

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