September 05, 2002

Misty Meadow II

Image copyright Fred First

Every summer, we do battle with the thistles. Like most plants that we call 'weeds', they are exceptionally good at making more thistles, and exceptionally obnoxious once they manage to invade a pasture. These bristly plants grow stout and tall, and even the tough mouths of cattle can't stand up to this prickly mouthful. It is a plant with a bad reputation:

In agriculture the Thistle is the recognized sign of untidiness and neglect, being found not so much in barren ground, as in good ground not properly cared for. It has always been a plant of ill repute among us; Shakespeare classes 'rough Thistles' with 'hateful Docks,' and further back in the history of our race we read of the Thistle representing part of the primeval curse on the earth in general, and on man in particular, for - 'Thorns also and Thistles shall it bring forth to thee.'

Thistles will soon monopolize a large extent of country to the extinction of other plants, as they have done in parts of the American prairies, in Canada and British Columbia, and as they did in Australia, till a stringent Act of Parliament was passed, about twenty years ago, imposing heavy penalties upon all who neglected to destroy Thistles on their land, every man being now compelled to root out, within fourteen days, any Thistle that may lift up its head, Government inspectors being specially appointed to carry out the enforcement of the law.

But like most things, even the despised and lowly can be beautiful, given the right eye and a flattering light. Here is a budding Bull Thistle growing on the edge of our pasture. I felt compelled to honor its beauty and symmetry with this photograph...before complying with the law and laying it low with my hiking stick.

Posted by fred1st at September 5, 2002 07:13 AM | TrackBack

Uh oh. I may have to leave Kristi in the car. Thistles are her favorite flower, and them's fightin' words.

Posted by: sainteros at September 5, 2002 11:10 AM

This is pretty interesting. I agree with the author.

Posted by: zip code maps at October 12, 2003 08:29 AM

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