Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Rabbit Brush in Colorado and New Mexico
Yes, it's true, and for years now I have admired this native bush or shrub, right here in my own back yard and on road trips throughout the south west. Rabbit Brush turns me into jelly, it sweetens my attitude, it raptures my soul.
My sister thinks it is strange that I love it so much....she always rolls her eyes when I make mention of it or excitedly point out a bush as we are travelling by. She's not in love. She doesn't see its subtle charm, or admire its wild disposition. I almost wonder if she thinks it's a weed, what with all her disinterest and quiet disapproval. But, I wish to make a lover out of her too. I try with all my being to pass on my feverish attraction, always to no avail. Instead I learn to accept this and let it move myself alone, and not expect others to ride by with the same eyes as I do.
My natural place to flourish must be right here in the south western areas where Rabbit Brush thrives. We thrive together, Rabbit Brush and I, on natural vistas, mountain views and wide open spaces. My family did the bold thing when it relocated from our native New York to the south west when I was just 3 yrs old. To think I may have missed all this western-ness, as most of my cousins have, living in "the city", never ever seeing a single Rabbit Brush, ever. How sad I would have been.
I recently decided that if I am going to be married to the stuff then I should at least learn a little more about it. And here's what I found out:
Believe it or not, Rabbit Brush is a form of a wild Chrysanthemum plant, or let's just say, it's from the chrysanthemum family. Also, in the wild, it is a chaparral - which basically means it grows in clumps usually on the side of a hill. And, while I used to think that rabbits like to live in the bushes they instead like to nibble on its leaves and flowers as a midday snack. I also found out that Native Americans (Navajo), long ago, used to use its rubbery stems as chewing gum and its yellow flowers for dye.
Probably the most wonderful thing I learned about my beloved is that, if left to their own devises, hundreds of gorgeous Monarch Butterflies will gather onto its mustard yellow flowers for hours on end.
So, I've decided. We know a good thing, Monarch Butterflies and me.