Dangerous Compassions

Red Springs

red springs

Yesterday we went to Red Springs for our morning walk.  It was fun to be at a new place.  I’d been there before, in the picnic area, like for the Las Vegas Radical Mental Health rock workshop, before covid.  But apparently, I never walked up the boardwalk to the spring.

There were the big jackrabbits, kind of shocking, like silent dream creatures.  There were little bunnies, cute, with fluffy tails.  Then the quail, making quail noises, including that water sound.  A ton of quail.  Some ground squirrels seemed tiny beyond possibility.

Red Springs with its boardwalk–I was concerned the boardwalk would feel too narrow for covid, too much traffic and not the ability to avoid people enough.  But it was ok.

Tons of gorgeous trees, with plentiful seed pods, all weird and soft and light green.  Ming used to the app on his phone to learn the trees were velvet ash.  The trunks and bark look like cottonwoods, but the leaves are different.

sunlight through trees


Sunlight through the trees was exciting.  We saw a lot of seeds that birds had pooped on the railings of the boardwalk.  Like the birds perched on the railing and left seed-poop below.

I thought the seeds were rose seeds, because I believed some birds were eating the rosehips of the wild rose bushes we saw.

Later we saw a phainopepla, which was very exciting.  I’d seen pics of them on informative signs for years, looking kinda like a black Stellar’s jay, with that funny crest.  But no.  Finally seeing one–they were much smaller.  So delightful and fun to glimpse, quick, shiny, and so black, gleaming.  Male grackles and crows are black but can have a blue iridescence mixed in–this phainopepla just looked just black, so pure and good.

I was happy Ming and I both saw it together.  Felt like a sweet experience of newness, to share.  And he told me he read on the sign, phainopepla eat the mistletoe berries.  So then I understood, it wasn’t rosehip seeds on the railing, but mistletoe seeds.

red springs

the spring itself

There was no little pool for the spring, just a place where the earth was damp, with different plants.  We saw this wet-loving plant that I said looked like nasturtium leaves.

Ming said he thought it was miner’s lettuce.  I laughed at him, with cruel botanical disdain.  Thinking of my life, with miner’s lettuce, and how different it looked.  Santa Barbara memories, of small salad snacks of miner’s lettuce.

Then I was like, well, there can be variations.  This could be the Red Springs way miner’s lettuce grows here.  But I doubted it.  He used the app on his phone to see it was pennywort.

Then I was calling pennywort other names, like farthingwort, and dermatologist-remove-my-wart, and frog-gave-me-a-wart.  I was a little too excited.

red springs


I heard frogs don’t really give people warts.  So I’m sorry to spread false information and amphibihate on my blog.  Maybe if I show you my poetic license, you will see I’m a trained poet and forgive me.  License to Quill.

My poetry training began with Frog and Toad, which is the ironic part.

frog and toad

o yeah thank you

Thank you to Ming for taking me out and about, to Mother Earth for all your glory, to my own body for letting me walk around a lot nowadays, and my own mind for staying curious.  Thank you to you, dear reader, for being who you are and enjoying life as you can, like us or not like us.  I love you.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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