Tag Archive 'vernal green'

May 20 2015

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Green World

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vernal eveThe sky breaks open just before dusk, giving the setting sun a chance to illuminate the verdure all around me. I haven’t been paying close attention. Suddenly all the trees have leafed out, lilacs and crab apple trees are in full bloom, and air is full of birdsongs. Where have I been?

Hiking through the woods the other day, I found only a few violets and lilies in bloom. The canopy has closed already, bringing an end to the opportunism of the early spring wildflowers so thick on the forest floor. It all happens so quickly.

The mosquitoes are out now. I took a few hits the other day. A few drops of blood seem a small price to pay for the vernal beauty that is everywhere on display. Dark clouds gather but now they only mean one thing: a good watering. Suddenly I am living with the elements, not against them.

We live in a green world. This is not apparent in the depths of winter, but in May it is undeniable. I work some bark mulch around the plants in my flower garden, surprised by how much they’ve grown already. I hadn’t noticed, until now. Nature steadily advances despite how distracted we are by other things. It seems a waste of time to do anything but revel in it.



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May 20 2011

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Getting into the Green

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The appearance of fresh verdure is so dramatic that I have to touch the bright young leaves to convince myself that they are real.  Walking through a forest that has suddenly leafed out is absolutely delightful, and the perfumed smell of pollen and raw earth pushes me over the edge.  Trilliums, blue and yellow violets, and the white starbursts of baneberry accent the bright green foliage, putting a permanent smile on my face.  An unseen hermit thrush sings the perfect song for a day like this – nothing but flute-like joy.  How can anyone be anything but happy on a day like this?

I sweat heavily while walking slowly along the damp trail.  The humidity is high, thanks to incredibly persistent rains during the past few weeks, and mosquitoes gather around me the moment I stop to catch my breath.  I don’t care.  I am grooving on a wild world suddenly springing to life.  I am getting into the green.

My dog Matika, also exuberant, races up and down the trail, splashing through puddles and splattering me with mud so frequently that it seems intentional.  But all I can to is egg her on with: “You go girll!”  Sometimes being muddy is a good thing.

A gray squirrel peeks around a tree trunk at me and my canine companion.  A woodpecker cackles in the distance, as if it too is intoxicated by the green.  False solomon’s seal, only days away from blooming, underscores the promise of the season.  No doubt about it, the best is yet to come.

You’d think that, after all these years, springtime would hold no surprise for me, that I would have lost all enthusiasm after so many decades of it.  But a part of me is as young as the countless insects and other forest creatures stirring to life at my feet.  I can’t help myself.  I am young at heart despite wrinkles and gray hair.  And this world is my playground – a true marvel in the universe, a planet fecund.  Thank god for it.



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May 06 2010

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Leaf Out

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It is barely perceptible at first.  Early in the season, I usually mistake the yellow-green catkins of poplars, elms and striped maples for the first leaf out.  But eventually it comes, adding an ever-so-slight vernal cast to otherwise naked gray-brown trees.  Then all of a sudden I get up one morning and notice that the trees are all clothed in bright green, as if it happened overnight.  And maybe it did.

The forest greens from the bottom up.  First the wildflowers strut their stuff, unfurling their leaves as they bloom: patches of trout lilies, trilliums, marsh marigolds and violets turning green long before the hardwood trees even think of it.  Then the slightly larger understory plants join in, until the green is up to our eyeballs.  Last but not least, the trees leaf out overhead, creating the canopy that makes the forest what it is – a shady sanctuary from summer heat.  I welcome it, being more a creature of shadows than sunlight as all true woods wanderers are.

Flying insects accompany me during my leisurely ramble around Indian Brook Reservoir.  I ignore them at first, then one takes a bite out of me.  “So soon?” I ask, knowing full well that this is only a hint of what’s to come.  I don’t care.  I revel in sunny coolness, the muddy trail underfoot, and the sky blue sheen of the rippling body of water to my left.  Few people are out here this afternoon, oddly enough, so it feels like I have the place all to myself – just my dog and me, that is.  Matika races up and down the trail, sniffing here and there, watching for squirrels.  She’s as happy to be here as I am.

On the north end of the reservoir, I find more signs of beaver activity than I remember from last year.  Dams, lodges and fresh cuts – their numbers are growing.  I wonder if the Essex townspeople care.  This is, after all, their playground.  Do they mind sharing it with so many toothy rodents?  We’ll see.

Yeah, this pocket of wildland will soon be overrun by Essex townspeople swimming, picnicking, fishing, boating and hiking.  Come Memorial Day, outsiders like me will need a permit to come here.  But I’ll be deep in the mountains by then.  Like most of the geese and ducks landing in the middle of the reservoir, I’m just passing through.  A springtime sighting, no more.

By the end of my ramble, I’m so relaxed that I hate to get back in my car.  I’m thinking I’m overdue for an overnight trip in the woods and should plan one immediately.  After all, the green wave will be creeping up the mountains soon and I don’t want to miss it.  That way I can experience leaf out all over again.  This is one of the things I really like about springtime.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

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May 08 2009

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The Green Unfurling

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After weeks of alternating rain and sunshine, the grass is a fuller, deeper green than it’s been in six months.  But that’s not what’s captured my attention lately.  Not really.  I am awestruck by the leaf-out all around me – in the bushes, in the trees, and across the forest floor.  It is so sudden and overwhelming that I find it difficult to think of anything else when my eyes fall upon it.  And yes, it feels sudden, even though I had all of April to anticipate it.  Nothing could have prepared me for this kind of green, even though I’ve seen it fifty times before.

Vernal green, Kelly green, the green of a living landscape long since dormant and springing to action.  Wizard of Oz green – a brown and gray world bursting into Technicolor vitality overnight, too green to be real.  I first noticed the green unfurling while running my dog a week or so ago.  A maple leaf no bigger than my thumb rolled out of its bud and yawned.  All I could do was stand there amazed by it.  But now I’ve gone beyond that even.  Now I’m completely overwhelmed.

What kind of world is this, anyway?  How can there be so much green where there was only bleached forest detritus, dark mud and naked branches only a few weeks ago?  I go about my daily affairs the best I can, but all this green distracts me.  I fight back the urge to cast off my clothes and dance through the lilies like some feral naturist drunk on life.  I make a list for the day, look at my watch and pretend that I have it all under control.  But this green unfurling is making mincemeat of my reasoning powers.

Every other day is built around a stint of woods wandering, however brief.  The rest of my life is just some kind of muddling through, a sleepwalk of sorts, full of numbers, ideas and other abstractions.  Head down I start my walks.  Five or ten minutes into them, I look up and see the luminescent green.  Then and only then am I fully aware of being alive.  And my first impression is always the same:  This remarkable world is too beautiful for me to run roughshod over it the way I do.  What was I thinking?

But enough blather already.  A cardinal calls me out even as I write this.  I’ve gotta go.  And maybe, just maybe, after I’ve seen enough songbirds and wildflowers amid the green, I’ll be able to get something constructive done today.  Not that it matters.  Life needs no excuse to exist.  In that regard, I am no exception to the rule.

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