Archive | May, 2013

Spring Genes

9 May

I love spring in the South.

Well, let me re-phrase that.

With the help of a lot of allergy medication, I love spring in the South.

The neighborhood has burst with color, and there are days when I think, “Have the colors ever been as bright as they are this year? Has that tree or that neighbor’s yard ever been as beautiful?”

The flowers in the front yard have gone crazy this year. In fact, I think I’m going to have to transplant some of them that are taking over like they own the place. I can’t just throw them away like some people do, though. It feels murderous. So, I’ll find some little patch of dirt that needs something in it.

I always think of genetics when spring rolls around. When I first moved here, I knew that I wanted to plant a lot of perennials. It’s fun to watch them re-bloom and spread year after year. I bought some columbine seeds my first spring here, sort of a medium pink color, and now I have several variations of pink columbines blooming all over the yard. (I’m a seed-saver, so they’re all over the place now.) I don’t remember buying several shades of pink, but there sure are several shades now.

A good friend of mine, as a housewarming gift, planted Lenten roses in the front yard shortly after I arrived. After a couple of years, I noticed that some of them were not pink colored at all, but were white, and they stayed white. The pink ones will fade during their few weeks of blooming, but the white ones never changed colors. They were resolutely white, with no shades of pink. Genetics did that.

White Lenten Roses with one pink

The other day I found a lucky clover patch in the backyard with one four-leaf clover in it. A spontaneous mutation, I’m sure. Then, about 20 feet away, I found a super-lucky clover patch that had three four-leaf clovers and three five-leaf clovers in it. I guess those were inherited mutations. Then, several days after being mowed, the super-lucky clover patch yielded no four-leaf clovers. I couldn’t even find a two-leaf clover in it, it was so unlucky. But the regular lucky clover patch, several days after being mowed, had two four-leaf clovers and one six-leaf clover in it. It became super-lucky in one week’s time. Those crazy genes. Go figure.

Clovers

The six-leaf clover is on the left and the four-leaf clover is on the right. Both are from the clover patch that was originally just a lucky patch, but this week is a super-lucky patch. Notice that the six-leaf clover has a very thick stem. It looks to me like it was two twin three-leaf clovers that were supposed to separate, but never did. I guess that would make it a Siamese stem, eh?

Sometimes, that whole genetic thing, when thinking about XLH, really kind of aggravates me and makes me feel very unlucky. Losing teeth is annoying, and sometimes embarrassing, to say the least. Having to go to the doctor to have my Vitamin D and parathyroid hormone checked every three months is a pain in the hiney. A trip to the doctor’s office to get the blood drawn, then a trip back a week later to consult with the doctor about the results takes me away from work and other fun activities. (Hey, I love my job, what can I say?) Last week, the Vitamin D was finally above 30 (now 34, woo-hoo!) but now my parathyroid hormone is above normal and “trending” upwards towards secondary hyperparathyroidism, which is not good, because that could lead to kidney stones, bone fractures, bone and joint pain (Hah! Are you kidding me? More?) and depression and something else…oh yeah, forgetfulness. It leads to an overall bad mood, if you ask me. I can’t believe that a little gland in the neck that regulates calcium, and is the size of a GRAIN OF RICE, can cause such trouble. Some XLH-er’s have to have them removed, and I am not really wanting to have to do that, because that’s just a little scary to think about.

But, as aggravating as having my genes has been at times, spring comes around and I notice that if it weren’t for genes, what would my yard look like? The same old thing every year, I guess. Pretty boring, obviously. Humans would be boring, too. My doctor would have a very boring career, I’m sure, because all she’d have to deal with is cranky people coming in with colds and flu. Now she gets to see ME, and draw pictures of the parathyroid glands to show its location near the thyroid gland, which gives them their name, because they have nothing to do with the thyroid gland; they just live next door to it, and she gets to talk about things other than antibiotics and eating a healthy diet. Surely, I must make her day? I bet she went home and told her husband that she saw 20 people with colds and sinus infections, and the most interesting part of her day was when the little short lady with the genetic disorder called XLH came in to discuss her blood test results and she got to explain to the intern who was with her about this rare disorder that he had never heard of, because he had just started med school and looked like he was about 14 years old. If it wasn’t for me, her day would be spent prescribing antibiotics or blood pressure meds and telling patients to lay off the red meat and salt. Boring.

One more thing that has been special about this spring. Last year, a friend of my sister gave me an iris to plant that was a color I had never seen before in irises. Sort of a peachy, salmon color. This year, it bloomed for the first time. Now, I love my tall, gangly yellow and purple irises that have taken over the front yard. They have been with me from the beginning, and are very tall (about chest high for me) and they get so tall that they flop over from being top heavy.

Two purple irises with yellow irises behind

Purple irises with yellow irises in the background. The purple ones smell like grape soda.

But this new and different color is just breathtakingly beautiful to me. AND, I am happy to report, they are the shortest irises in the yard! Hah! How about THAT!?! The shortest and the prettiest!

Iris with old Pentax telephoto lens

My new iris. My mother’s first name is Iris. She is also beautiful, like the flower.

Iris with Pentax lens

Since it’s the new flower on the block, I take a lot of pictures of it! We’ve had quite a lot of rain, as you can tell by the droplets of rain water still clinging to it when the sun came out. I think it looks like it’s sticking its tongue out at me, which makes me smile.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you who are  mothers and mothering women out there, and especially to mine, who’ll be the lucky beneficiary of some of those irises this weekend!

Copyright S.G. Hunter and Banjogrrldiaries, 2013-2018.