08 May 2011

The autumn of toetoe

I took the camera on my ride up No. 2 Line late this afternoon, and stopped partway down. Already the sun had lowered far enough for its light to begin to warm up (visually — the irony's that as the light gets warmer, the temperature gets cooler) and the shadows to stretch and accentuate the corrugations along the dirt road and the contours of the hills. The flowering fronds of toetoe (roughly, "toy-toy") stretched skywards above me as if appealing to something for salvation. But the appeal will probably be in vain — the introduced pampas grasses are hybridising with the toetoe and because they're so closely related, biological control of pampas grasses is unlikely to be safe enough to attempt. Conventional methods of control are impractical; the eventual outcome seems inevitable. Already, toetoe, so characteristic of much of Aotearoa, has begun the gradual slide into the autumn of its existence.

[The reference when you mouseover the photograph is to Larkin's An Arundel Tomb]

[8 May 2011, Panasonic Lumix GH1, 14–45 mm at 40 mm, ISO 400, 1/800 at f8]

All content © 2011 Pete McGregor


Barbara Butler McCoy said...

A beautiful photo - such a vivid sky! - and a poignant poetic reference. We can try to etch things in stone, but in the end they are no more permanent than the mandalas of sand the Tibetan monks design, no?

Relatively Retiring said...

As Barbara says, such a beautiful sky, and such a thought-provoking story.
Pampas is a real thug of a plant.

pohanginapete said...

Thank you, Barbara. You're right — impermanence is an essential condition. Perhaps the most we can hope for is not to be forgotten.

RR, thank you, and well put — pampas does have a kind of thuggish vigour. Toetoe seems more refined, the flower spikes more delicate yet just as resilient.

Once, making my way down a rough little side creek on my way back to a Ruahine hut in the gloaming, a toetoe frond whipped back and hit my face, plucking a contact lens from my eye (I had spare lenses at the hut). Apparent delicacy should not be underestimated ;^)