Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Small Wonders in the Woods

 Hepatica (Hepatica nobilis)
Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica)
We are somewhat behind this year when it comes to wildflowers blooming and new leaves popping out, and there is no sign yet of my favorite early bloomer, Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) with its snowy petals, golden heart and artfully scalloped enfolding leaves. 

There are (however) delightfully mottled Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum) specimens showing up here and there, and yesterday morning I found tiny clumps of Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica) blooming, also the first feathered blue-green leaves of Dutchman's Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria). I had my field notebook with me and marked each specimen carefully on a grid of the Two Hundred Acre Wood - these are the first entries in 2013's botanical study of  native plants.  Every year another study,  and always something new and wonderful to discover...

This morning's photo offerings are among the first wildflowers to come out in the northern woodland. There is only one way to capture their delicate perfection, and that is to lie full length in the fragrant sun warmed leaf matter with camera in hand, eyelash to eyelash and nose to nose with the tiny plants. It is only at such close quarters that one can take in the colors, count the petals and decide what she is actually looking at. There is something to be said for looking at life and wild places from a slightly different angle once in a while. When I rolled over and looked up at the sky through the budding maple trees yesterday, the prospect was absolutely dazzling, and I felt like an otter cavorting in the sunlight.

For all the somewhat cooler temperatures and wind, there were woodpeckers, brown creepers and amorous chickadees cavorting in the trees, exuberantly drumming grouse on hollow logs in the woods, vultures soaring in high lazy circles over our heads. A few days ago, I chased the first Mourning Cloak butterfly of the season a long way into the woods, stopping only when it alighted forty feet up in a poplar and stayed there.  Surely, we need only be patient for a little longer, and springtime will arrive fully, strewing warmth, sunlight and green leaves everywhere.

In the northern hemisphere, this is the eve of Beltane or May Day.  A joyous observance to you and your clan - may there be both sunlight and wild greening in your part of the great wide world.


Guy said...

Hi Cate

The photo of the Spring Beauty is stunning I love the striping.


christinalfrutiger said...

So much beauty in such a tiny plant spirit! :) Lovely photo!

Kameshwari said...

~~eyelash to eyelash and nose to nose ~~

To me, it sounds like making love with the Elementals.

Tabor said...

So delicate and so fragile are these new beauties that many miss them.

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

I need to visit my woods,
a lot of rain,
family visits
and now it is me and the
woods time..