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The Changing Landscape

With June come the lupine in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The annual Lupine Festival heralds the arrival of summer and is celebrated jointly in the mountain communities of Franconia, Easton and Sugar Hill. The blooms create a beautiful landscape in the shadows of the Franconia, Presidential and Kinsman mountain ranges.

I always look forward to working in the fields with my camera, though the black flies and ticks also enjoy the display – and making their presence known!

Ever wonder what types of flowers were abundant in Bible times? Scriptures don’t provide much guidance, since only three are mentioned specifically (all in Song of Solomon): the lily, rose and the blooms of the camphire.

After reviewing the original Greek and Hebrew Biblical accounts and exploring the Holy Land, botanists are said to agree that rock roses, crocus, narcissus, and oleander were referred to as “roses.” Likewise, “lily” refers to as many as five or six types of plants – including a variety of iris, chamomile, and hyacinth. Those aren’t necessarily the types of plants one might conjure up when thinking about the landscape of that part of the world.

There’s a reason for that: archeological digs have uncovered evidence indicating the climate in that area was much different in Bible times than it is now. Time and events (overcultivation, deforestation, overgrazing) drastically changed what was once a landscape with fertile valleys and wooded mountains into the extremely arid environment we’re familiar with today.

In the States, we can look to modern day events to see evidence of what can occur as a result of these same sorts of practices. The Dust Bowl is a classic example. No political statement here. I'm thinking more fundamentally than in the context of greenhouse gasses and the "great climate debate."

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