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Norm in Fujino
02-24-2005, 02:04 AM
February is deadly drear around Fujino. Most the green leaves have dropped from the trees back in December, and only certain evergreens, including cedars and lacquer bushes, retain any green at all. Not the time I want to be inviting friends to see the town; the scene below is a small community at the top of a low ridge behind the mountain where I live; I walk the mountain path regularly with my dog. The green at the bottom here is a grove of bamboo, but notice the reddish cedars at upper right; they're not dead, just heavy with pollen:
http://www2.gol.com/users/nhavens/resource/05022423a.jpg

This deep in winter, and other than an early flowering plum here and there, no flowers are in bloom; how depressing . . . or so one thinks. At the summit of the ridge I look down to my feet and see this:

http://www2.gol.com/users/nhavens/resource/05022401a.jpg

Still doesn't look like much until I take off my hat and get down on my middle-aged belly. Up close, barely noticeable, are numerous tiny purple flowers. In Japanese they're called by the irreverent name oh-inu-no-fuguri: literally, "big dog testicles."

http://www2.gol.com/users/nhavens/resource/05022409a.jpg

I have no idea who gave the name to the plant, but it is said to refer to the shape of the fruit later in the year. In English, they're known by the more prosaic name of "Persian Speedwell." That, plus the scientific name Veronica persica suggests that it isn't a flower native to Japan, but one brought over long ago from the Euro-African area where it is quite common.

http://www2.gol.com/users/nhavens/resource/05022416a.jpg

Each of the flowers is only about 1/4-3/8" (5-8mm) in diameter, so it's no wonder that we miss them when our eyes are up in the air, looking for more impressive sights.
I've got to admit, though, finding them on cold, cloudy days like today makes me happy as I imagine spring just around the corner.

Break
03-02-2005, 07:22 PM
Beautiful.

It's nice to know that not all of Japan has gone crazy.

EAP
03-02-2005, 10:45 PM
Gorgeous. All of us should look more closely for those things in life we might otherwise miss....

Norm in Fujino
03-03-2005, 05:33 AM
Thanx, guys.


It's nice to know that not all of Japan has gone crazy.

"Crazy: thy name is human" :eek:
(I think we're all just holding on by the skin of our teeth.)


All of us should look more closely for those things in life we might otherwise miss....

Winter here is nice that way: there's nothing playing on the mountainside, so you're sort of forced to either look up at the stars, or down on the ground ;)