Saturday, April 21, 2012

Spring Beauties

Yesterday afternoon, our Salish class convened for this week's lesson, but we only managed to review the word list two or three times before getting distracted. We had shared a big lunch just before the meeting, so I think most of us were ready for a nap.

We adjusted our plan according the needs of the group and went outside for a mini field trip.

The spring beauties (Claytonia lanceolata) were in full bloom, like speckles of white splashed across a blanket of green grass. Some of the flowers are pure white, while others have delicate pink lines streaked across the petals. One of the class members had an iron pec'eʔ that we used to extract some of the spring beauty roots, known as commonly as "Indian potatoes." Come to think of it, I should have photographed some of the roots, as they do resemble tiny potatoes. They are a traditional food of the interior Salish people.

Standing amid the spring beauties, I announced to the group, "Since we're still technically in school, you should know that the Spokane name for this plant is skʷn'kʷin'm'." We all laughed. Then I pointed to the yellow avalanche liles (not pictured), and said, "...and those are called max̣eʔ."

I have not replaced my camera since it was stolen last week, but I did manage to find my old point-and-shoot Kodak EasyShare Z760. Actually, I used that old camera for several years to post photographs onto my blog, but I never realized how spoiled I was by the Canon. The Kodak lacks a manual focus, so getting a clear image of these tiny flowers was difficult. I was able to work around the problem somewhat by making the camera focus on my hand (placed at the same distance as the flower), and then removing my hand to take the picture.

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