HEARTLEAF ARNICA (Arinca cordifolia)—VI.23.08 [ click photo for next . . . ]
member of the SUNFLOWER family . . .


In the Alps, there is but one species of the beautiful
plant, a member of the Sunflower Family, that we call,
Arnica(Arnica montana).

In the great and wild Wallowas of Northwest America, where
I'm presently focusing most of my fieldwork, there are at least
nine different species of Arnica, all adapted to different
elevations, different exposures, different degrees of
moisture, etc. It is very much like seeing an old friend
who has put one new clothes for every occasion.

I'll let you know when I have all the variations figured
out, and neatly sorted up a row. And when I have finished,
indeed, if ever, my meditation on the formative forces
generating this miracle of diversity.

In the mean time, I have Evelyn at Annie's Cafe in Richland,
where I have my little picture-poem Office, making what we're
calling ARNICA RUBBING VODKA, a healing topical for all
the many muscle and joint pains to which mountaineers are
prone, a recipe and practice I learned in Urnerland, home
of one very beautiful, solo, species of this wonderful
yellow flower.

MIRACLE: Solo Arnica
(Anrica mollis)

The difference in altitude
between A. cordifolia
and A. mollis is nearly
a vertiacal kilometer . . .

On the road in the American Northwest.


A world without light or

sound is thinkable,

but not a world




Strong chinook winds have driven me
inside. From my window, I see
a young male blackbird, its eye rings
still dark, perched on a mountain ash.
The tree, also young, is leafless,
but bright red clusters of berries
grace its bare limbs like ripe ornaments
for a festival of fall.

The tree, the bird, swing back and forth
to the wind’s irregular rhythm.
The bird’s neck extends and shortens,
easily keeping his balance.
Eyes so alert, the head bends down,
first slowly, then quickly snatching
a little fruit, swallowing it
whole. Then he’s off, another tree.

Birds don’t stay long in one place. Or
is this just the way of birds and
trees? One must do the work of
staying put, roots firmly grounded
in rocky soil, new fruit each year;
while the other, flying freely
to unknown places, carries with
him the seeds of falls yet to come.

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(created: VII.25.2009)