"DREAMS OF STRAWBERRY MOON"
by Michael Rock
I can't believe it's already full moon time again. Tomorrow's full moon is called the Strawberry Moon. Since International Fairy Day is coming in just 10 days, I thought I'd show this painting of a fairy and a strawberry moon. If you want to check out Fairy Day 2011, go here: http://www.fairyday.com/.
It seems this post today is all about "F" words - mostly of the good kind: fairies, full moon, flowers, feathered friends and fun. The flood is not so fun, but not as bad as had been expected. So far, the river continues to scour itself out and is way, way deeper than normal. This means it can carry far more water than it did previously.
The Missouri has risen to about 18 feet locally, or two feet above flood stage, but nowhere near the 20.6 feet predicted level. The cities of Bismarck-Mandan are in a watch and wait mode, having sandbagged and built dikes until there is no more to do. The main worry in the cities right now is water seeping up through the ground.
People living outside the cities' limits have not been nearly as lucky, as the flood waters have reached their homes and covered their farmlands. Many of the much-counted-on 2011 crops are lost. And this is not the typical spring-type flood, where the floods come, stay about a week and then recede. This is a flood created by waters released from dams upstream, and could last well into the summer as the snow pack in the mountains continue to melt.
But meanwhile, the residents of our twin cities are determined that the flood will not ruin our summer. Although recreational boating and fishing on the river is out, Bismarck still plans to hold Ribfest, Mandan will still host its Buggies and Blues Festival and both cities will celebrate the Fourth of July with the traditional fireworks, rodeo, parade and arts and crafts fair. The Bismarck Zoo may even be bringing back its animals and re-opening.
Local psychologists and psychiatrists are encouraging these plans. They're urging people weary of flood fighting to get out and just have fun for a few hours to relieve the terrible stress they've been enduring. The fight-or-flight phase may be on hold, but just waiting can also be terribly stressful.
For myself, I have been having fun with flowers. I had not planted flowers for the past few years, blaming it on sore knees and sore hands, but in actuality I didn't have the money to indulge in my favorite hobby. As I once again plunge my hands into the dirt, I vow never to let my yard get into such a bad state again. I didn't realize how long it had been until I discovered that there is a whole new crop of neighbors to comment on my front yard as they walk by.
In May, I always think no month can be more beautiful, with its tulips and other bulbs and the gorgeous flowering trees. Then June comes along, with its bridal veil spirea, irises, peonies and roses, and I know that June is the best month of all, and I plan to enjoy it to the full. (My William Baffin climbing rose and my Morden shrub roses are in bud and ready to burst into bloom.)
Cedar Waxwings by Cathy Therrien
A couple of days ago I was amazed to see the hedge on the north side of our yard just covered with Cedar Waxwings. I rarely see these lovely birds. They usually only appear in the fall, when they feast on the red berries that ripen then. It dawned on me that these birds may have been pushed away from the river and into town. If so, they are most welcome, but I wonder what they thought when their favorite hedges are not offering any berries! I also wonder what other wildlife will encroach upon our town, and will they all be welcome?