It seems only a short time ago that the shell like flowers of the skunk cabbage were poking their heads through the last remnants of snow, like a crustacean breaching the surface of the water. The buckets were being filled with the sweet sap of the sugar maples, draining from the piles, like a leaking faucet. But now, the door of winter has finally closed and the gates of spring have crept open.
The days get longer and the cold of winter is replaced with a warmth that emanates from the earth and embraces the soul. The scent of the breeze is distinctly different and new, and the musty earth prepares for new life that will spring forth. As we examine the landscape, not long ago covered in a blanket of snow, we are aroused by the delicate protrusions breaking forth from the earth, pushing leaves aside. Quickly, and almost overnight, flowers bloom and decorate the environment with new color and fragrance. The trees put forth buds in preparation for leaves unfurling to become the shade of the new year.
The birds celebrate with song and begin their diligent search for that perfect spot to begin building new nests so that new life can be brought forth. The bee’s start to appear, gorging themselves on the sweet nectar of the first spring flowers, whose aroma saturates the air and infuses the nostrils. While nearing a swampy area you are startled by the season’s first cacophonous peeping of the chorus frogs, that builds with crescendo, but abruptly ends, almost as if they know you have arrived. Oh that first sound of the peepers tell that spring has arrived.
Although the tree squirrels in our area don’t actually hibernate during the winter months, they limit their activities to consume energy. After a winter nestled in their tree nests, known as dreys, snuggling with members of their family, they no longer need to cover themselves with a furry tail to stay warm. Neither do they have to search for those hidden stores of food. They become more active and rejoice by rushing from limb to limb as if the warmth of the new season has rejuvenated their spirit.
When you approach the edge of the woods your excitement grows as you observe the occasional blue carpet of delicate flowers called Blue-Eyed grass. The dark blue flowers hang almost upside down, as if shielding their small yellow center from the casual observer, and are always a sure sign that winter is gone.
Upon exploration of the rich areas of the woods you find that some spring flowers are plentiful but allusive. The Trout Lily, also known as the Yellow Adder’s Tongue, with its delicate yellow nodding flower, almost disappears with its leaves mottled with brown and blending into its surroundings. Natures camouflage at its best.
The Dutchman’s Breeches, a small enchanting white flower, with many hanging in a row the length of its stalk, appearing like pairs of pantaloons hanging out to dry. The Bloodroot, with its single white flower and a single leaf that surrounds, protects, and cradles the flower stem as it grows taller. As the flower dies off, the deep lobed leaf opens large and flat like a solar panel to collect the rays of the sun. Of course, as spring progresses, you must not miss the short lived Purple Trillium. A gorgeous maroon or dark purple flower with a single whorl of three leaves: hence its name trillium.
We await the delicate cone shaped morels, almost brain-like until you realize they are actually pitted ridges, unlike the false morel. They will come soon, but not soon enough. but, Spring has arrived in all its glory. The season of awakening is here. A revival for both earth and our being.
Copyright © 2014 by John D. McCann