Topographia


Topographia (top-o-graf’-i-a): Description of a place. A kind of enargia [: {en-ar’-gi-a} generic name for a group of figures aiming at vivid, lively description].

The Field

I have a seven-acre field that I’ve landscaped in what what I call the “controlled chaos” mode. It’s pretty much on its own with goldenrod, wild grasses, milkweed, nettles, giant thistles, daisies, phlox, alfalfa, foxglove, wild roses, field ferns, wild strawberries, and more. All I do is pull enough of the plants that tend toward making a mono-culture of it–mainly the goldenrod and milkweed–to enable the other plants to thrive. It is populated and visited by birds (goldfinches, field sparrows, crows, a pair of king birds, buzzing hummingbirds and more), butterflies (monarchs, admirals, yellow and black swallowtails, checkered butterflies, sulfur butterflies, and a number of different kinds of moths), dragonflies, spiders, ants, garter snakes, ladybugs, the occasional tick, and more. Turkeys wander across the field.  Foxes hunt for mice. Deer come to graze in the early evening. Yesterday, as I was walking along the field’s edge, curled up sound asleep by a trail leading into the woods was a tiny little fawn.

The field hosts a vernal pond in March when the snow melts–a breeding place for black yellow-spotted salamanders.

At the field’s edge there are two bird boxes spaced about 100 meters apart.  Currently, there’s a tree swallow family nesting in one box and a bluebird family nesting in the other. If things go like they usually do, after the bluebirds move out, a pair of house wrens will take up residence.  I love to listen to the male when he shows up and perches on top of the box and starts to loudly sing for a mate.

I have mowed a trail that winds through the field.  The grass grows shoulder high alongside it. One of our favorite family adventures is walking the trail at night in late spring when there are thousands of fireflies flashing all around us. We stop every few feet and stand there oohing–awestruck over and over again by hundreds and hundreds of tiny random bursts of light.

The field is a hobby, a place to wander and wonder together, and a natural home for insects, birds, plants, herptiles, reptiles, and mammals.

In sum, that’s the field.

  • Post your own topographia on the “Comments” page!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

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