Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Yesterday, we hit a record high in Knoxville of 73 degrees, breaking the old mark of 71 set in 1986. The rains and mild weather revived the resurrection fern on Chapman Ridge. It grows on the top of a large gray rock as big as an sleeping elephant. The evergreen is an air plant or epiphyte that attaches itself to a tree or rock and gets its nutrients from the air, its moisture from rain. You have to admire such parsimony. The plant’s common name comes from its ability to survive long periods of drought by curling up its fronds and appearing dead and dried-out, making it look as bad as I feel mornings without coffee. The fronds seem brittle and will crumble in your hand. Yet, a little rain brings the fern back to life; the leaves unfurl and return to a vibrant green. Voilà! It has been reported that these plants can go 100 years without water and still revive after a single soaking. I may not live long enough to test this, but I'll try. Check back here February 6, 2108.

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