Alpine Springbeauty (Claytonia megarhiza), High Wallowas
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Member of the Purslane family, Alpine Springbeauty is striking
in many ways. First, is the setting. High alpine, above treeline,
in bare, rocky scree, fell-fields and talus slopes after snowmelt.
In the Wallowas, where this photo was made towards the end of
August, this is at about 2500 meters and above. Second, is that
the flowers are nearly identical with their lower kin of the same
genus, Springbeauty (Claytonia lanceolata) and Heartleaf Springbeauty
(Claytonia cordifolia). This strong similarity, for me, draws out
the amazing difference seen in the adaptation of form, growth habit,
and leaf structure the rigors of the high mountain environment.
Flowering stems are drawn down into the basal rosette, and the
leaves have become thick, close to the ground, and wonderfully
succulent. Notice the modulation in color. As the summer progresses,
the leaves turn from a red burgundy to green, as they produce more
and more chlorophyll.

center of the Eagle Cap Wilderness in
Northeast Oregon, Where the Alpine
Springbeauty was photographed . . .

On the road in the Northwest of America.


In an adverse cultural climate, with its perennial waste,
and war, and utterly mindless violence against the Earth,
mimic the alpine plants:—grow close to the ground, keep
a tight cushion of friends clustered around, wear a coat
of densely woolly white hairs, and especially, send roots
through every crack and crevice down to deep, reliable

a few necessities of the artistic life

An abundance of wonder.

An absence of fear.

The fierce doubt of spiritual freedom.

A love of self, a love of other, a love of Earth.

The calm of clear. cold night air just after a winter storm.

The quiet patience of a thousand-year-old stonepine.

The excellence which comes with determination, diligence
and devotion in all matters of craft and technique.

Just like a mountain spring, a natural ebb and flow of giving and
receiving, indifferent if others do, or do not, choose to drink,
while asking nothing in return.

An intense passion for awakening—one at a time,
and all at once—
all the above qualities in the young,
or younger than you.

Camp Lost & Found,
Eagle Cap Wilderness

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All Photographs & texts by Cliff Crego © 1998-2016
(created: VIII..2011)