Tuesday, October 11, 2011

wild asparagus

wild asparagus
ferns glow bright copper
against dried up corn

The verge between field and highway brims full of native forbs, woody plants and a sprinkling of domestic plants that have escaped back into the wild, like this asparagus. The ferny leaves that grow out of the naked green stalks have turned bright copper in autumn, giving the plant the appearance of a burning bush about to consume the dessicated corn stalks. Unfortunately, the threat of fire in the drought-dry fields is quite real. Recently, there have been several field fires in southeast Iowa, mostly in the more flammable soybean fields. A truck with a hot muffler going into a field can ignite the parched plants, and a recent spate of windy days accelerates the spread of fire. Farm equipment has to be careful driving over the wide cracks in the dry ground, which can cause a broken axle. Yesterday a sprinkling of rain gave rise to low-lying fog this morning, spreading a welcome layer of moisture, but by late morning the sun-baked fields are arid again.

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