Spending the time outdoors as I do,
you might think I know my wildflowers well.
Truth is, each year I begin again,
the process of learning their names,
the particular differences setting similar plants apart,
where each prefers to be found,
The spring “ephemerals,” that,
from beneath a lifeless layer on the forest floor, appear almost overnight,
in a few short weeks, complete their entire growing cycle,
before the dense green curtain is drawn across overhead.
Their brief, exuberant lives often catch me unprepared—
launching my first attack against another advance of Garlic Mustard or picking up what winter has carelessly left strewn about the yard. Until I uncover that dappled or finely feathered leaf, yet unfurled or fuzzy, that reminds me, there's reason to pause.
And though I know our property well, most of its woods are reclaimed farmland--few of the real treasures of the wildflower world are found, still surviving, here.
I must go elsewhere, to untouched hillsides, unplowed places,
where flowers bloom as if no one is watching.
And, each year's glory, more lovely than the last,
allows me stolen glances.
Autumn Coralroot, a most curious little orchid
10 hours ago