These flowers came with my house, planted by the previous owner, and continue to return each year - in spite of my negligence. I don't even know their name, but I know I like them. Update, as of May 1st, 2013: I figured the name out, thanks to Google search: hyacinth. The genus of this flower is: "native to the eastern Mediterranean (from south Turkey to northern Israel), north-east Iran, and Turkmenistan."
The origin of the name:
In Greek mythology, Hyacinth was a beautiful youth loved by both the god Apollo and the West Wind, Zephyr. Apollo and Hyacinth took turns at throwing the discus. Hyacinth ran to catch it to impress Apollo, but he was struck by the discus as it fell to the ground, and died. A twist in the tale makes the wind god Zephyrus responsible for the death of Hyacinth. The youth's beauty caused a feud between Zephyrus and Apollo. Jealous that Hyacinth preferred the radiant archery god Apollo, Zephyrus blew Apollo's discus off course, so as to injure and kill Hyacinth. Apollo did not allow Hades to claim Hyacinth. Instead, Apollo made a flower, the hyacinth, from Hyacinth's spilled blood.
Hyacinths are sometimes associated with rebirth. The hyacinth flower is used in the Haft-Seen table setting for the Persian New Year celebration, Nowruz, held during the Spring Equinox.
I have an immigrant, mythological flower growing outside my front door. I like that.
Join me, Cameron Tarnas, Lynne Heasley and others for a video workshop designed to give people a glimpse into the process of environmental documentary and reporting.
This hands-on workshop will document the efforts of Steve Kohler, Director of Environmental Studies at WMU, as well as other experts and volunteers while they conduct a citizen-science monitoring program of our local rivers and waterways.
Participants will assist in the various aspects of field production as well as editing the final video in the studio. By the end of the workshop on Sunday, we'll have a working cut designed to hit the web and educate the public about a great environmental program happening right here in Kalamazoo.
The workshop is open to the public. No experience required.
I recently visited Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, and although it was sad to see the animals in cages, the big cats simply blew me way.
I hadn't seen a lion or tiger since I was a wee lad, and considering the largest animal I encounter in my urban wildlife adventures is a whitetail deer (and even they're considerably smaller than one would expect) the size of these cats was down-right awesome. They're massive.
Their demeanor also moved me: they truly are as majestic and noble as legend and lore would have you believe.
I had a chance to see so many other animals that day that I simply can't cover them all. Let me just say that it confirmed for me that the diversity of life on Planet Earth is jaw dropping. We're definitely part of something truly inexplicable and amazing. If only we can appreciate this fact and not unravel it all.
The only other animal I'll mention at this point were the chimpanzees. It was these guys where I saw our distant relatives, and most uniquely, an intelligence unlike the other animals in the zoo. They came across as the clever ones, and Lord knows they need it, because otherwise those big cats would eat them up in the wild!