Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Down of a Thistle

It's the time of year to consider the down of the thistle.
I am unreasonably sentimental about thistles.
 They are breathtakingly beautiful, albeit noxious, weeds of Summer.
Thistles survive in fencerows or near shelter belts in GriggsDakota. There, the thistles escape the unending battle to control them. 
Those that make it through the season produce down. 
The down of the thistle is the means by which its seed is carried out into the world. 
The seed, attached to its own tuft of down, is carried off by birds or breezes. 
The downy seed lands wherever it falls, near or far. Whether eaten and expelled, whole and viable, cracked and dead, on good soil or no soil at all.
 Each plant produces millions of downy seeds which should cause me not to hold the thistle in such high regard. I blame that on Clement C. Moore and his poetry.
'He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!” '

1 comment:

  1. Great! I have these all over the ranch, but didn't know what they were called...and never paid attention to that line in the story... Love it when you do that!