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All At Once!!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Finally finally finally we got out yesterday for a wildflower walk in the woods.

We generally make multiple visits over several weekends beginning in late April in order to enjoy the sequential unfolding of the blossoms.

But this year the weather has been so cold AND we have been so busy with work and house obligations that yesterday was the first trip.

I was worried that I would have missed some faves . . . but no.

Everything really was in bloom all at once!!

There were still a few bright yellow colt's foot at the side of the road, although many had gone to fluffy seedheads. Late pussywillows were at max fuzzification, beginning to show green leaves, and brilliant yellow marsh marigolds filled swampy places en route.

We had to search a bit, but there were still a few hepaticas (white, pale pink and pale blue) nodding above their "liver shaped" leaves on their furry stems .

Lots and lots of bright pink and white candy-striped spring beauties too.

Many trout lilies (also known as dog tooth violet) with their russet-anthered bright yellow blossoms and russet-olive spotted leaves.

And true violets -- individual white and yellow, the purple blue in drifts.

But stealing the show were the deep red "wake robin" trilliums and the white trilliums carpeting the forest floor in profusion, intermingled in many places with taller and paler yellow common bellwort.

Yes, all of this accompanied by birdsong chorus.

And my first mourning cloak butterfly of the year.

Such lavish abundance: I had missed nothing at all.

Soon the acid green canopy of sugar maples high above will fill in . . . and there will be little vegetation down below.

When we got back, I learned more about trilliums (Ontario's provincial flower) on line. We were taught as children never to pick them ("William William spare the trillium") because they won't grow again if their leaves (so close to the blossom) are severed from the root.

But they are even more vulnerable than the poem suggests. The three-cornered seed pod has a little handle or ridge which apparently tastes delicious to mice and other forest rodents. They carry it away, eating the handle and burying the seed. And then it takes a year for the seed to germinate, sending out a tentative root below the ground. The following year the seed may produce a single leaf. But the new trillium plant typically does not grow a flower for six years: and even then can be killed by deer grazing when winters are cold and harsh.

Once flourishing, however, a trillium plant can continue to bloom for 25 years or more . . .

On yes, one of my prisms for all life experience is nature . . . and I cannot help but draw inferences and intimations from gardening or from walks in the woods.

Late blossoming is always possible: everything at once. It can take time to germinate . . . but it's worth waiting for. There is no reason to engage in FOMO panic: fear of missing out.

It's all there, all of the time, rich and abundant and freely offered for the noticing.

Here endeth the lesson -- and the lesson is for slow-learner ME (merely descriptive of MY state of mind, never prescriptive for others). Requiring eternal repetition which is also freely offered, through the endless cycle of the seasons.

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