I've been away from the Shire for a few days.
It's a beautiful time to be in the Midwest--
the days are sunny and warm, the flowers are blooming,
and fields are being planted with summer crops like soy beans.
And all along the roadsides that wind through fields and over hills,
there are wild purple coneflowers, yellow false dandelions, blue chicory,
and bright pink thistles decorating fence rows and meadows.
I don't remember ever seeing so much thistle before.
It seems to be everywhere.
I understand there are different varieties,
from Canadian thistle to bull thistle to musk thistle and a Scotch thistle,
they seem to be very similar.
Thistle is an invasive plant, but like many invasives,
it has a beautiful flower.
Since I've been in the Midwest, I've seen bright pink thistle
growing up in fence rows and in grassy banks along the highways.
But it tends to choke out other plants better suited for an animal's grazing.
As with many things, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
But pink thistle growing in fence rows under blue skies
on a warm June afternoon makes for a pleasant memory.