Apr 27 2011

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The First Wildflower

Posted at 11:07 am under Blog Post

A few days ago, while hiking Aldis Hill, I noticed that several wildflowers were on the verge of blooming.  Some them can take more than a week to open.  Bloodroot and trilliums are a good example of this.  But round-lobed hepatica, a humble member of the buttercup family, usually opens right away.  So I went looking for it yesterday despite the rain.

At Judy’s suggestion, I went to Niquette Bay State Park.  It’s a good place to hunt for wildflowers this time of year.  It’s right on Lake Champlain where Vermont’s northern climate is slightly milder.  Dog friendly, too, which is good for Matika.  Midweek, raining, and early in the morning, I was certain to have the place to myself.  That sold me on it.  I went.

I noticed trilliums right away, but they weren’t open yet.  A few Dutchman’s breeches had taken form, but they were still green.  Patches of mottled green leaves caught my eye, but the trout lilies they sport were nowhere in sight.  Not yet.  I saw spring beauty drooping and closed against the rain.  Then I found them, amid moss-covered rocks – the first wildflowers of the season pushing up through the forest duff: hepatica.

To those of us who love all things green and growing, who simply endure winter, few things are more joyous than the first wildflowers of early spring.  What a relief to see them.  A smile broke involuntarily across my face while hungry eyes fell upon their delicate petals.  A woodpecker knocked nearby, a hermit thrush sang in the distance, and insects buzzed about.  No matter.  The first wildflower of the season is what turned me.  The world is reborn!

With my wife’s old camera, a great improvement over the cheap one I’ve been using the past year, I snapped several pictures of the tiny flower.  I didn’t mind lying on the wet, muddy earth while doing so.  In fact, I rather enjoyed it.  Then I went down to the water’s edge to ponder matters great and small before moving on.  Matika chewed a stick to pieces while I sat there.  Then we both finished the hike wet, wild and happy.

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