Western White Virgin's Bower (Clematis ligusticifolia) (VI.2.2008) . . .
A PLANT OF WAYSIDES . . .
Western Virgin's Bower is a climbing vine, native to
North America, with a somewhat weedy-looking habit of
Growing over fences and other vegetation to the point
of smothering them. (In this respect, it's somewhat
similar to Virgin Creeper in the eastern part of the
US.) Virgin's Bower is what I think of as a typical
wayside plants, setting up shop along roads, fences,
streamsides, up to about 1200 m. or so.
But late spring and early summer it still has a charming
aspect. The structure of the open, loose, composite
leaves (featured above); the typical Clematis genus
explosion of stamens from the flower centers.
In the pioneer days of the American West, it becames
known as pepper vine. This is because it was used as
a pepper substitute, although with prolonged usage,
it is reported that this can cause digestive tract
problems. None the less, Ligusticum was used by Native
Americans to treat migraines and nervous complaints.
On the road in the American Northwest.
A POOR MAN'S VACATION
The bench had been freshly
painted a bright red, made all
the brighter by the surrounding
light greens of forest Spring.
A man, grizzly, unkempt,
with few clothes, (How could he
make it through the mountain night?)
but with a certain refinement
in his gestures, belongings
pouring out of his bag onto the path.
He had his beans cooking
in the can leaning against a stone
at some well-studied, precise angle,
with, underneath, the smallest larch
twig fire I’ve ever seen.
“I used to be a chemikus. Abito
now in Pari. Ik ga nach Roma.
He spoke a confusion of different
tongues, but I guessed he might be
Dutch. He said his name was Hans.
Holding up a brand new white and
orange bag of polenta, he said with
no uncertain pride,
“I koop this for 75 cent.”
I couldn’t argue with him. Those
just new to an area have an eye
for bargains the locals easily pass by.
(URNERLAND, The Alps,
from ON PATHS)
All Photographs & texts by Cliff Crego © 2011 picture-poems.com