Today is flower day.
I know some of you read Trauma the Drama -- a blog written by a sometime Cancun expatriate, who currently lives in Oregon. She has been posting some comments about Portland's premier event: the Rose Festival.
At least, it was the premier event when I was growing up. Parades. Floats. Marching bands. Waving princesses. The closest thing a republic has to monarchical pomp and circumstance.
When I was 10, I was in awe. Like most everyone else in this postmodern world, I now see it as an ironic parody of itself.
But it does honor one of my favorite flowers: the rose. Even though our weather is still a bit cool and damp, I noticed on my morning walk with the dog that the roses are out in force.
That caused me to start wondering. I know that I have seen posts on roses in the northern desert and in the central highlands pf Mexico, but I have never heard anyone comment about roses on the Pacific coast around Barra de Navidad. Do any of you know? Will they grow? Do they thrive?
I am almost positive that I will not find these beauties in Mexico. It is a camas.
When the white settlers came to the Pacific northwest, they would often encounter open meadows with what appeared to be beautiful blue lakes. Those "lakes" were camas in bloom. I have seen the display only a few times. Stunning.
And the flower is symbolic of the relationship between the white settlers and the local Indians. For the Indians, the camas was a great source of nutrition. The bulb can be eaten similar to a sweet potato or ground into flour. The Indians would often burn areas of the forest to create meadows to grow camas, to allow blackberries and huckleberries to sprout, and to provide grazing (and great hunting spots) for deer and elk.
When the white settlers arrived, they attempted to stop the fires to protect their settlements. They also allowed pigs to run free. Pigs, being -- pigs, rooted up the camas meadows. The Indians fought back in the early 1850s. They lost, and ended up undergoing several sad treks to primitive reservations. One tribe has had its revenge by setting up a casino that is now Oregon's number one tourist attraction. The descendants of those white settlers now trek to the casino to lose what was taken 150 years ago.
Babs has been publishing similar commentary on her visit to Chiapas.
Our history does not live far from from us.