St. John’s Day, as in: Midsummer Day, the day of the summer solstice, is almost upon us.
It will be the time for mountain solstice fires again, then, and fittingly for both that day and climate change, St. John’s Wort has just come into bloom here, already.
Having looked towards FKT as “fully known trails / terrain,” I have reason to look back at everything that I had encountered during the recent ‘trails of spring’ (#1: Winter’s Last Hold at the Traunsee, #2: Wild Leeks in the Leitha Mountains)
Flowers, pretty as they often are and useful as plants can be, have been among the prominently noteworthy things.
In making plant diversity more obvious in all their many colors and pretty shapes, flowers are good illustrations of the lack of at-home-ness we often have: They are obviously there, they are obviously all different – but how many do you recognize?
And if you want to argue that there is just no need to do so, let me ask what’s the need to recognize different brands of cars or clothes when you can’t eat them, can’t use any but your own, and won’t even interact with the vast majority of people who use them, so that the social cues inherent in them aren’t of any effect.
At least you could enjoy seeing the flowers and knowing what they are; and in knowing them, you could probably find some that could be used as food or tea or medicine, too.
And simply knowing the places you live more intimately, from the roads to the trails, from historic buildings to blades of grass, makes for a different – and better – connection with life.
In all the connected technology and social media connection all around the world, we are all too little connected to the places where we actually are, anyways.
But of course, as a human being, everything that moved was more noticeable also to me; the closer to potential prey or predator, the more so.
The sheep grazing not far from the road just recently struck my eye,…
…as did the mountain goats using the trails as their paths through the still-snowy landscape of a month or two before.
There were also other things.
Not just small animals such as the fire salamander trying to hide away between stones…
…but also more and more flowers. The ones that started emerging just as soon as the snow was melting, and the ones that only came up much later, now that we are moving closer to summer…
Of course, there is much more to be seen than I took photos of; and there is a lot that could be said about them all.
There are commonalities, such as the wild leeks (ramson) that grow in both the Pannonian landscape of the Burgenland I usually live in and the Salzkammergut part of the Alps I regularly visit to run mountain trails, and there are differences between these two areas.
In fact, there are differences just between different mountains and different faces of a single mountain, between the woody hills and the agricultural floors of the same flat landscape.
It’s just a matter of making oneself at home in these places enough to notice it all.