Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Jacks Are Dancing

Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)
(also called Bog onion, Brown dragon, Indian turnip)

The quiet alcoves down near the creek on the Two Hundred Acre Wood are one of my favorite places in the great wide world, and in any season.

In autumn, the ground is carpeted in fallen beech and maple leaves, a few vibrant ferns still waving their fronds in sunlit recesses. Light flicker flickers through the old trees, and every sunbeam is filled with madcap motes of leaf dust and pollen tripping the light fantastic. Meadowsweet and cohosh have gone to seed, and their heady aroma fills the air. Is there magic in the air too? Yes, there is, heaps and cauldrons of it.

In winter, snow and ice cover the ground for months at a time, and creek's voice is muffled under its frigid blanket. The sheltering trees on the hillside above are bare and silent, and only the north wind comes to call.

In springtime, the fragrant, crumbly earth near the stream emerges from the snow, and woodcocks (sometimes called timberdoodles or night partridges) probe the soft ground for worms and grubs. On spring nights, male woodcocks perform astonishing courtship flights (sky dances) overhead, providing their own music of twitters and liquid warbles. Below, the creek sings a raucous ditty as it gambols downhill with its tumbling freight of broken twigs, pebbles and desiccated leaves, and the trees that were silent all winter are filled with jubilant, returning birds. There is music everywhere.

Hallelujah, summer has arrived, and down by the creek, "jacks" are dancing in all their stripey magnificence. Wood ducks are nesting on a pond nearby, and the forest is green again. Trees sigh overhead, and whole chorales of robins and grosbeaks hop from branch to branch in the overstory and sing their hearts out. If Beau and I could do better than croaking and rumbling, we would do a little singing ourselves.

We got through winter without serious tumbles this time around, and with our wits (mostly) intact. We even managed to do a little inward blooming of our own now and then. Spring was brief and glorious and we reveled in its return, but hallelujah, summer has arrived. We can do this. Verily, merrily, we can do this.


Pienosole said...


Dee said...

Your words paint an enchanting picture. Thank you

Gill said...


Barbara Rogers said...

Well spoken, and again, well spoken!