Thursday, April 11, 2013

Early Spring...In the Woods

This week I managed to get myself into the woods, alone.
I wanted to catch the first signs of stirring green. Soon these same brown, seemingly uneventful paths will be awash in leaves and life, but for now it is still the early morning hours of the year, and the early risers tend to be quiet and subdued, respecting the fact that others are still sleeping or just waking up, and not wanting to cause too much of a racket.

Down the low creek path there are trout lilly leaves just poking through the leaf litter,

and the skunk cabbages are beginning to leaf out.

And down in the hollow, where one of my sons found the leaves last year, the coltsfoot are flowering.

Here is the sideways view of the scale-like stems,

and an unopened bud, just lovely.

A few feet away a young snake was observing me (not a sight I see when my children are with me, as they tend to send anything that can move off into hiding with their raucous exuberance).

A bit further down the path, a spring fed area was filled with luscious chickweed and cleavers,

as well as some young jewelweed just coming up, with cotyledons still showing.

Up hill a bit I found the first spring beauties, so delicate,

and dapples of bloodroot, the leaves still curled.

Down to the creek again to find tons of beautiful watercress (and wishing I had brought along a plastic bag for harvesting).

A lovely patch of nettles also gathered at the stream bank, offering a leaf or two to munch.

As I sat among these waking woods, listening to the caws of crows and twittering of songbirds, I closed my eyes. Soon I could hear a rustle in the leaf litter all around me. Opening my eyes again I focused my attention on the direction of the sounds to observe spiders and insects emerging and scuttling around. Life all around me is stirring and rousing. It is lovely to witness this every year, the earth's return to growth and activity. Merry Spring!

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