Sunday, March 22, 2009

Early flowers and wildflowers


I went hiking at Clegg Botanical Garden today, a lovely wild spot along the Wildcat Creek. I went primarily in search of hepatica, which I knew to be there, and was pleased and surprised to see other flowers as well. Most are just coming up and a few are showing early buds. I got a few photos and even found one lone hepatica, but the pictures of it are too bleached out to be worth posting -- I'll try again soon when the light isn't so harsh. A few are worth sharing. Dreams of spring!

Virginia bluebells

winter aconite


Friday, March 20, 2009

early spring

i thank You God for this most amazing
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;
and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes.

- e. e. cummings

Is there a better poem for the first day of spring? Perhaps -- but this perfectly captured the spirit and beauty of the day. March has been unusually mild, with several days of soft breezes and sunshine, and today was no exception. The temperature was only in the forties but the sun was warm and the cool breeze felt gentle against my skin; the sky was a "blue true dream of a sky," the red maple flowers making bright spots against the blue, and hundreds of red-winged blackbirds sang me a spring-song.

I've been hiking a lot, and although it's early for most wildflowers, the spring beauties are showing a few small buds and hepatica is slowly unfurling flowers from the soil. I've been treated to lots of migrating waterfowl: hundreds of coots and northern shovelers, a few mallards, a lone blue-winged teal, many bufflehead, and a dozen or so ring-necked ducks. I've seen a red-tail hawk several times, flashing his red tail as he soars past me to land in a tree, and watched several minutes as a red-shouldered hawk watched me.

The highlight of recent birdwatching, though, was my first great blue heron of the season. No matter when or where I see them, I always take the time to stop and spend a quiet moment.

There will still be chilly days; we could even easily see a snowflake or two, but there's no doubt that spring is on its way!

Happy spring!

Male mallards postured to each other -- while the females pretty much ignored them.

Note: E. E. Cummings liked to play with punctuation. I've tried to stay true to his original poem but there are more than a few different versions on the internet, with different spacing and punctuation, and until I can get to the library I'm not sure I have it completely right. So please bear with me if you're an e.e. cummings fan and it doesn't look right!

According to at least one source, he actually preferred his name capitalized, but sometimes used the lower case to indicate his humility. I thought it was appropriate with this poem so I left it as often written.