Seven years, seven truths

Superb cicada (Tibicen superba) after molting (201_0150_c)

Seven years ago I could not have identified more than ten bird species.

Six years ago I did not know that velvet ants were actually wingless wasps.

Five years ago I had no idea that green anoles changed color at will.

Four years ago I was terrified of the cicada-killer wasps that surround my home each summer.

Three years ago I had never seen an alligator in person.

Two years ago I was unaware that ibises, herons and egrets nest in the middle of Dallas.

One year ago I could not have differentiated one cicada species from another.

[superb cicada (Tibicen superba)]


Let me not be counted among those who, upon hesitating, lost all for which they struggled.
Let me not bequeath unto infinity all my unfulfilled dreams.
Let me not forsake my aspirations to linger and languish in history’s repository of the unattained.
Let not the sun set upon a day in which I did not strive to reach for the heavens.
Let not a single victory be left unrealized simply so that I might rest.
Let me not pause on eternity’s highway solely because my body grows weary.
Let not desires both grand and minute be awkwardly supplanted by repose.
Let not my seat at the table of promise remain empty.
Let not the reluctance of my deeds birth the end of aims.
Let me not cease to listen to my own heart.
Let not my observation fall upon intentions drowned in the sea of fear.
Let all my expectations be born and shared.
Let me find the joy in attempt and ignore the disappointment of failure.
Let my pursuit of desires be omnifold.
Let the disclosure of my own mystery be reason enough to try.
Let the sweetness of laughter and pleasure be accomplishments unto themselves.
Let there be no other purpose save to live.
Let not the certainty of what can be subjugate the hope of what could be.

Upon the plains of hesitation bleach the bones of countless millions, who when on the dawn of victory paused to rest, and there resting died.

— John Dretschmer

This ain’t yer daddy’s dandelion

I’m a sucker for dandelions.  I know, they’re the scourge of manicured yards everywhere, but move beyond that boring green sheet of sameness and let a splash of color here and there add some excitement to your lawn.

Close-up of a western salsify (Tragopogon dubius) seed head (20080518_05496)

When they go to seed, it’s like a galaxy full of stars.  One breath is all it takes… to ruin that yawn-inducing disaster you call a landscape.

A western salsify (Tragopogon dubius) seed head (20080518_05499)

Oh, but I said this ain’t yer daddy’s dandelion.  Wanna see why?

My hand next to a western salsify (Tragopogon dubius) seed head for size comparison (20080518_05501)

That’s my grimy paw to give you size comparison.  As seed heads go, this one is bigger than a baseball.  Imagine the mayhem that could cause in your tedious little St. Augustine canvas.

But what creates a seed head that large?

A western salsify (Tragopogon dubius) flower (20080426_04666)

Western salsify (Tragopogon dubius).  Mighty purty, ain’t it?

Close-up of a western salsify (Tragopogon dubius) flower (20080426_04677)

The flowers are like dandelions on steroids.  Huge burning stars of color that stand waist high.

A western salsify (Tragopogon dubius) flower (20080426_04709)

[all photos from White Rock Lake]