Monday, March 30, 2020

Early Spring Walk

"It was not summer yet, but spring; and it was not gentle spring ethereally mild, as in Thomson's Seasons, but nipping spring with an easterly wind, as in Johnson's, Jackson's, Dickson's, Smith's, and Jones's Seasons." 
                                                                                                                       ~Charles Dickens

I was just reading a rather humorous article from a few years back about "the horror that is spring in northern Maine". Before we get to the flowers, we have to go through weeks of slush, ice, mud, and often flooding. Thankfully we don't have nearly as much snow this year as we've had the last few so I'm hoping it will be a little easier. But despite the mess, early spring in Maine is still a joyous time. The birds have started singing already (some were singing as early as February despite morning temps as low as -37 F!) and now the robins are back. The days are long and the sun is warm enough to melt some snow even when it's well below freezing. 

And already there are signs of new life!

Tracks are abundant. We have been hearing coyotes almost every night lately and I see their tracks in the field behind our property and in the woods. They look like they belong to some pretty big dogs! I also found these tracks, which I believe to be lynx. They aren't distinct due to the melting, but they are big and yet not heavy enough to sink very deep into the snow. 

Size comparison with my glove!

The woods are calling!

I'm fond of this little grove of Quaking Aspens. We have a couple of smaller trees on our property as well and I still remember one night last summer when there was no noticeable breeze, and suddenly the leaves on those trees started rustling. It was beautiful! 

Another happy surprise was this little patch of bare ground at the edge of the woods! Only those who haven't seen bare ground for 6 months can fully understand my excitement! 😁 In early spring, even when the weather is so nice that I want to spend the entire day out of doors, I get to feeling like the dove in Noah's ark who "found no rest for the sole of her foot"! The snow is still quite deep as you can see from the other pictures, and the woods were the last place I would have looked for this! The next nice day we get, I plan to take a book out here and read for a while! 😊

Sometimes a walk in late fall or early spring reveals things that were missed among the thick vegetation of summer. As I sat and enjoyed my little patch of earth, I suddenly noticed a vine clambering through some speckled alders just in front of me. The fluffy seed heads looked mighty familiar and I soon got up excitedly to have a closer look!

Just as I suspected, it turned out to be a wild clematis! Most likely Clematis occidentalis var. occidentalis, and also known by the pretty name of Purple Virgin's Bower. It is a native of eastern North America but somewhat scarce. I only saw it in this one spot and no wonder that I missed it last year as this area is nearly impassible in summer! I will be watching it closely this year though you may be sure! 😊

I hope you all are enjoying Spring too! Many of you probably have flowers already...I'm hoping to see the first crocuses in my garden in a few weeks! 😊

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Comforting Words

Wow, it's been a long time since my last post! I hope you all are doing well! I'm fine, but life has been pretty busy and stressful lately. Yesterday I did manage to get away to the woods for a little while which went a long way to refresh my spirit. Then a friend shared this quote today which expressed what I felt so perfectly and seemed so meaningful for these times, I just had to share it. I hope it blesses you as much as it did me! 😊

   "This accumulated depression of months slid from her at last in a moment. She had run out into the fields one day in a pet and was standing on a small stone bridge looking down on brown running water flecked with cream-coloured foam. It was a dull November day with grey sky and mist. The little brook was scarcely more than a trench to drain the fields; but overhanging it were thorn bushes with a lacework of leafless twigs; ivy had sent trails down the steep banks to dip in the stream, and from every thorn on the leafless twigs and from every point of the ivy leaves water hung in bright drops, like beads.
    A flock of starlings had whirred up from the bushes at her approach and the clip, clop of a cart-horse's hoofs could be heard on the nearest road, but these were the only sounds. Of the hamlet, only a few hundred yards away, she could hear no sound, or see as much as a chimney-pot, walled in as she was by the mist.
   Laura looked and looked again. The small scene, so commonplace and yet so lovely, delighted her. It was so near the homes of men and yet so far removed from their thoughts. The fresh green moss, the glistening ivy, and the reddish twigs with their sparkling drops seemed to have been made for her alone and the hurrying, foam-flecked water seemed to have some message for her. She felt suddenly uplifted. The things which had troubled her troubled her no more. She did not reason. She had already done plenty of reasoning. Too much, perhaps. She simply stood there and let it all sink in until she felt that her own small affairs did not matter. Whatever happened to her, this, and thousands of other such small, lovely sights would remain and people would come suddenly upon them and look and be glad.
   A wave of pure happiness pervaded her being, and, although it soon receded, it carried away with it her burden of care. Her first reaction was to laugh aloud at herself. What a fool she had been to make so much of so little. There must be thousands like her who could see no place for themselves in the world, and here she had been, fretting herself and worrying others as if her case were unique. And, deeper down, beneath the surface of her being, was the feeling, rather than the knowledge, that her life's deepest joys would be found in such scenes as this."

                                                                                   ~from Lark Rise to Candleford, Flora Thompson