Tree Climber: Harvesting the Crop

A young girl gathering ash fruits. Why?
A young girl gathering ash fruits. Why?

A young Lakota girl climbed a small tree in the Rapid City park where we played with our grand daughters. The tree-climber filled a white bucket with the hanging tassles of what I confirmed later was a kind of ash tree unfamiliar to me.

I assumed I could figure out what her purpose might be, but I’ve failed so far to do so.

The tiny seeds seem hardly worth the effort to husk and eat. Maybe they use them ceremonially or for some  kind of ornamentation.I guess I’ll never know.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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