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Eugene Weekly : It's About Time : 5.5.11




By David Wagner

The geese that crouched over their nests in April have abandoned their vigil. At first I feared that their nests had been subject to a predators marauding, the eggs destroyed. Happily, I was wrong. I had just missed the beginning of the setting and by the last week of April there were two goose families bobbing around the ponds, one family with six goslings and one with seven. It is such a pleasure to watch these fuzzy little bundles of cuteness through binoculars. It is time again to remind readers that we should never feed the goslings bread. It causes their bones to grow too fast, out of sync with their feathers. The result is warped wing tips that prevent them from ever flying, an incurable, permanent disability called angel wing that usually leads to early death.

I have come to appreciate knee pads when working in the garden. With maturity comes a back that doesnt like bending and knees that hate squatting. With knee pads on, I spend much more time kneeling and crawling than I ever used to. It has brought me closer to the little plants I dance with all the time, the weeds. Now, when I grab an over ripe Cardamine (rhymes with goddaminny) the seeds it flings around bounce off my glasses. Cant get ahead of them if I wait too long. On the other hand, I have become more fond of the red henbit, the prettiest of the humble flowering plants we call weeds.

David Wagner is botanist who lives and works in Eugene. He teaches moss classes and leads nature walks. He may be reached at fernzenmosses@me.com