Now for men too

A wild flower lover finally comes out of the closet.

“They tell me that you’ll lose your mind when you grow older. What they don’t tell you is that you won’t miss it much.”/Malcolm Cowley

Peter Warland

The time has come for me to come out of the closet and confess. It is my duty to alert my faithful — albeit naïve — readers as to my true nature. My closest friends and my family have already found me out and I only hope that our shattered relationships can survive. I am not positive that I can, not after I announce that I am a practicing …

Wild flower admirer.

It’s true.

That doesn’t mean that I mince about with a limp wrist; I’ve merely taken an interest in wild flowers. I get excited in spring when I know that I’ll be able to see some wild buttercups on Eager Hill. They give me a thrill each year. When I come upon a hillside smothered in bright yellow balsam root, I feel excitement. When I emerge from a tangle of slide alder and discover a sunny bank strewn with Indian paint brush, like my friend Paul, I am likely to exclaim, “Wow!”

I know virtually nothing at all about the biology of flowers. I failed that class at school but I think I know petals, then, when I check, they turn out to be sepals. This must have been a misprint in my Flowers of the Rockies book. Stamens are the male parts of flowers, I learned, and then it gets personal. I’d rather stand back and admire…

In my youth, apart from the huge bunches of bluebells I used to collect for Mum, I didn’t acknowledge flowers. If I did see them, I didn’t demean myself by noticing them. Later, as I thrashed about in the mountains, trying to be a famous rock-gymnast, I began to take note of fossils and various formations of geology. That was all right for a guy.

When we first came to the East Kootenay, our male friends were all hunters, so we hunted; it seemed to be the natural thing to do: a male necessity. However, hunting is in the Fall and that’s when most of the wild flowers have given up the ghost for the year.

Spring and summer are different. On our way up to the rocks near Lumberton, we could not ignore the Calypso Slippers that peered at us beneath the trees and, way up in Boulder Creek, I can still recall discovering those waxy pyrolas, almost hidden under fallen trees.

But flowers are female things and they sneak up on a fellow, the way women do. Like Rita.

We were invited to her house one evening and she showed us her collection of colour slides. They were all of wild-flowers and the pictures grabbed me. Soon I was avidly making my own collection of pictures until I realized that it was difficult to do well and that I should have started years before. I was hooked though. Even being scorned by my neighbours as I tried to photograph the myriad dandelions in my lawn didn’t deter me.

Then Wendy rolled up from England. She was a wild flower enthusiast from Europe and knew well all the blossoms of the Alps and Pyrenees. She recognized every flower we showed her and was ecstatic at the extravagant display nature put on as we traversed the ridge between the Bear Lakes. She knew different names for the flowers but then, neither of us knew the Latin names that biologists have given them.

My ancient face wrinkles into a grin when I recall friend Axel having a fit when we were up on Lakit Mountain. He suddenly leaped to his feet and gambolled like a drunken puppet down the hillside warbling ‘The hills are alive with the sound of music’ and then fell flat on his face. According to George, I trotted down to Axel and helped him to his feet, muttering, “Oh, look! You’ve crushed some eriogonum,” then tidied the damaged flowers.

This, of course, is completely untrue, but I still remember the glorious late summer orange blossoms on the plants.

Just Posted

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Ryan McKenzie of the Kimberley Trails Society made an in-depth presentation to City Council describing the initial steps of the Electrify the Mountains eBike trails project. This is a look at the project one map.
Kimberley City Council hears details on Electrify the Mountain project

At the meeting of City Council on Tuesday, June 8 Ryan McKenzie… Continue reading

The Kimberley Public Library invites kids of all ages to join the 2021 BC Summer Reading Club. Kimberley Public Library file
Kimberley kids invited to join summer reading club at Public Library

The Kimberley Public Library invites kids of all ages to join the… Continue reading

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Most Read