Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Dancing Goldenrod Afternoon

Recently I wrote the following two paragraphs for publication. Only one of them made into -- print isn't quite the word, since no ink and paper were involved -- the for-pay electronic publishing realm.

"Warren Buffet turned 80 on Monday, and still no word on who will eventually succeed the Oracle of Omaha at the helm of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., probably because he's publicly stated that he'd like to "work past 100." The Geico Gecko is considered a (very) long-shot as successor."

"What to do when you want to publicize a still-new technology? Put on a race, of course. It worked for the Great Leslie and Professor Fate, after all."

The second of them was cut. I pretty much knew it would be. The gecko is still highly visible, after all (and Geico is a Berkshire Hathaway company). But an allusion to a movie that came out in 1965?

Maybe The Great Race came to mind only because I saw it again a few months ago. This time with Ann, who was the only other person in the house that would sit through it with me. A month or so later, we watched Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, and to continue the theme of long, highly kinetic comedies made in the 1960s, we watched It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World on Saturday. I'd never gotten around to seeing it before, and marveled especially at the who's-who nature of the casting, plus the sheer amount of on-screen destruction: cars, planes, buildings and on and on.

Friday was a brilliant, mildly windy day with temps in the low- to mid-70s. "Chamber of Commerce weather," a former co-worker of mine used to call it. So I went out looking for goldenrod.

Actually, I didn't need to look for goldenrod. It's blooming in abundance here in northern Illinois and getting blamed for the kind of sneezing and runny noses going on at our house now. Until recently I also viewed the plant with suspicion. But according to the Iowa State University ag extension, a trustworthy source in these things: "[Goldenrod has] long suffered from an undeserved reputation as a common field weed that causes hay fever. In fact, ragweed is the primary hay fever culprit. Goldenrod is falsely accused because it flowers abundantly during the peak allergy season."

The extension's web site continues: "Goldenrods are easy to grow when planted in good garden soil in full sun. They are extremely hardy, drought tolerant, long-lived perennials. They also have few insect or disease problems and require minimal maintenance... Convincing some gardeners of the landscape value of goldenrods (Solidago species and hybrids) is difficult."

Why do some gardeners dislike them? Because they're too easy to grow, perhaps. Dandelions get the same rap.

I went to the Poplar Creek Forest Preserve on Friday afternoon and found an unpaved trail to walk on. Namely, the "orange" one that more-or-less parallels Poplar Creek itself. The trail looked something like this.

Plenty of goldenrod, and sunflowers too, danced in the wind.

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