Rain Returns

As expected, the rain returned overnight. It was forecast to be fairly windy, and indeed the buoy was showing waves over 12 feet this morning when I checked. Around the house I never noticed a particularly strong wind. It was nice to have the warm summer rain. I hadn’t really thought about it until I was out in the rain this afternoon, but there is a distinct difference in feel of the rain when temperatures are in the upper 50s (as they were today) compared to the 40s or below (which is more typical fall through spring). Perhaps it was the dry spell that lasted most of the month, but I found it quite pleasant to be out this afternoon with the rain falling.

I noticed the (presumably) Anna’s Hummingbird female visiting under the porch again today. Connor had mentioned seeing her recently (within the past few days) as well. I’m not sure if she has started coming back after a hiatus, or if we just happened to miss her visits for a while.

Earlier this year I started moving old journal entries from 1998 into the weblog. I didn’t get too far, but what I did get done has started showing up in the “On this date in…” links. When I read the 4 June 1998 entry about a hike up Gavan Hill over to Harbor Mountain, I realized that was as bright a line as any in my journey towards becoming an obsessive sort of naturalist. Although I didn’t realize where it would ultimately lead, it was the first hike I went on with a (brand new) SLR camera that I hoped to use to take pictures of flowers and stuff. My motivation at the time was very much the photographic side of things. I’m not entirely sure where it came from, but I think in part it was inspired by my dad’s interest in photography, including nature photography. It was not something he spent much time on, but do remember being aware of it. What I didn’t understand until long after was how it would change the way I paid attention to the natural world. Nor did I realize I would feel compelled to try and find names for the things I photographed, and how that process would provide a certain kind of reinforcement that trigger some of my obsessives/compulsive tendencies.

I still remember being back in Pullman the following school year showing photos to my classmates in statistics classes who were in the botany program, hoping they could give me names. I even took a trip to the WSU herbarium for help. Now I understand how unrealistic it was to think they would be able to give me names of the plants/flowers I had photographed, but at the time I was pretty naive in my thinking.

There are still some remnants of those efforts to be found on my older site. One example is a picture of Cooley’s Buttercup from that hike. The title is correct, as I’m pretty sure I added it in when I finally figured out what the flower was. However, the caption still reads:

I found this flower while hiking in the alpine on 4 June 1998. This plant was not very large. It has been suggested to me that the leaves make this look like a buttercup of some sort, though another person pointed out that it is not unthinkable that the flowers don’t necessarily go with the leaves which the picture seems to put them with.

Of course now I recognize that plant immediately, but at the time it was completely new to me. The people I asked about it had no doubt never seen it, as it has a limited distribution (both in terms of habitat and overall range). So I wrote down what I could based on the answers I received to my questions. I think I ultimately figured this one out by photo matching in Pojar and McKinnon’s Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast.

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