Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Stop and Smell the Columbines

Yellow columbine (c) John Ashley
Yellow Columbine
Two days from now, up in Glacier National Park, they're planning to open the Going-to-the-Sun Road across Logan Pass. Of course, all this rain here in the valleys probably means snow up at the pass, so don't pack your hiking boots just yet.

Meanwhile, about a zillion people drove as far as they could go this week, parking at Avalanche Creek on the west side. I'm wondering how many listened the Varied Thrush singing from the canopy, or watched Harlequin Ducks feeding in the creek. In the few hours I was there, one other person took notice of this clump of yellow columbine (Aquilegia flavescens) plants growing in plain sight on the cobble beach next to the parking area. These plants aren't as common as one would hope so I always stop for a closer inspection whenever we cross paths - even though the flowers have no scent.

But then again, whenever I stop and talk with people in the park, they invariably tell me about things that I failed to notice. Like the tourist who pointed out an 1,100 pound bull moose that I'd walked past, twice. Each of us sees the world in slightly different ways, and our wild lands are valuable for far more reasons than any one of us perceives.

Yellow columbine (c) John Ashley
Morning dew drips off the petals of a yellow columbine