Friday, July 2, 2010

July 2: Wood Lily

This afternoon I had lunch with an old college roommate whom I hadn't seen for twenty years. After lunch we walked up Beech Hill so I could show off "what I do" and hopefully spot the black vulture that my friend Brian photographed there this morning. As we made our way up the trail where it skirts the blueberry fields, I was a bit startled to see patches of fully blue, ripe blueberries. From the road up to the summit of the hill, the view of the blueberry fields broadened, with a wide backdrop of ocean and islands, from Monhegan to our far right panning left over Vinalhaven, North Haven, Isle Au Haut, Mount Desert, all the way to the knob of Blue Hill back on the mainland. And behind us, the beautiful green carpeted curves of the Camden Hills undulated through the countryside on one of those afternoons when I felt particularly grateful that this is my home.

A towhee chinked in the bushes, and a silent Savannah sparrow flitted across the path. And in the fields wildflowers were blooming among the blueberry plants, including a Beech Hill specialty, the wood lily. The wood lily is an uncommon wildflower found scattered throughout the preserve's open fields. Beech Hill is the only place I know to find it. Despite preserve guidelines asking people not to pick native vegetation, every year there are always a few idiots who can't resist or who mistake it for the more common roadside variety day lily. "What's this beautiful flower?" they ask. Something you shouldn't have picked, we want to reply. Each flower is a rare and precious thing, a work of art.

The bright orange flower is a sort of flag that the blueberries are ripening, as it always seems to blossom just before the berries are ready. By the time of the harvest, the fields have erupted with lilies. I saw just a few lilies here and there on the hill today, the petals like flames amid the waving grass and other wildflowers. I think I may even have seen one raising its head on the sod roof of Beech Nut. Soon I know more will be brightening the fields, signaling to humans, birds, and animals that it's berry time.

Watchfire of July--
flame of the wood lily licks
the ripening fields.

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