September without the muckle deed yins

Posted on September 16, 2010


I always think of my grandmother at this time of year.  Grasshoppers bound across sandy meadows dotted with orange hawkweed.  It’s peaceful.  It smells good.  There’s nothing in the world to worry about.  I can feel her hand holding mine, feel the sun warm on my chubby knees, hear her say “That’s Indian paintbrush.”

Except . . . it wasn’t.  A few years ago my friend Carol Park and I were walking through such a meadow, and I pointed out the paintbrush.  Carol was tactful.  “Um,” she said, “the stuff we called Indian paintbrush in Colorado was a lot different.”  I clung to my heritage.  Surely it was a case of different plants in different places ending up with the same colloquial name.  When we got back to the house I pulled out my trusty Stan Tekiela.  Ulp.  Gram was full of beans.  What we have here is Orange Hawkweed.  Quickly I flipped to the page for Cowslips.  Thank goodness Gram was right about those.  My whole childhood was in danger of Deep Questioning.  So here, in honor of all the things that went right in my childhood, is a post featuring orange hawkweed and interesting trees and Mr. Potato Head and water.  The slideshow should have loaded by now.  Afterward I’ll have a request.

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The request: There is a certain way that light slants through the waves on Grand Traverse Bay.  It illuminates the water from inside, and shows the shape of it and the movement and the sand beneath—I’ve never been able to capture it in a photo, although I’ve tried and tried.  I see that I’m not doing a very good job capturing it in words, either, and I’m generally better at that!  Anyway, if any of you wonderful photographers and painters who visit here periodically have a notion of what I mean, and if you’ve managed to capture it, please let me know.  I’d like to see that.  I expect it might be the same at the seashore as it is on the Great Lakes.

Betty Beeby’s been working on the same notion for years now, and she still hasn’t got it right to her satisfaction.  It isn’t as easy as it might sound.  It isn’t easy at all.

Oh!  I almost forgot.  Some of you might be wondering what muckle deed yins are.  I refer you to Fee’s comment in the previous post, another in her fine series of Scottish Lessons for the English-speaking.