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Spring is Springing

>> Saturday, March 20, 2010

In celebration of the first day of spring, I ventured to Baltimore Woods. Ordinarily I wouldn't have expected to find any wildflowers this early, even at Baltimore Woods which is spring wildflower central.  But this past week has been so extraordinarily warm that I decided there was a chance some brave flowers had already emerged, and I wasn't going to risk missing them.

Baltimore Woods has a wildflower garden that's just wonderful in the spring.  It doesn't look like a garden,


but it is.  Most of the wildflowers that fill this area have been carefully transplanted from elsewhere in Baltimore Woods and are now thriving side by side, in greater concentration than you'd normally see.  In a few weeks it will be filled to the brim with trillium, spring beauty, bloodroot, trout lilies, mayapples, and Solomon's seal, and more.

For the most part, it's still too early.  There was even still some snow hanging out in the glens and shaded spots, 


and very few flowers were out.  I did find one little patch of croci that's been planted in the garden beds in one of the upper fields.


A few steps further, just into the woods, I spotted one brave myrtle flower.


Although there were few flowers, throughout the spring wildflower beds there were signs of emerging life.  Hidden little patches of young greenness were poking through the soft earth and spearing their way through the dead leaves.


I was utterly disappointed not to see any coltsfoot in the upper gardens, though.  I figured for sure there must be some out somewhere.  So I decided I would have to extend my walk further and meander down the big hill to access the rest of the trails.  


Normally that wouldn't be a big deal, but today it should be a sign of my dedication to my coltsfoot quest that I mustered the will power to walk down the hill.  My husband and I are on a major fitness kick to get ourselves back into mountain climbing shape, and I endured a session with my trainer yesterday.  The man is wonderful; he's an incredibly competent trainer and a very likable person.  It's a darn good thing, too, because I think I'd probably hate anyone less likable, given how much pain I'm in today.  Actually, it's not even the pain, it's the fact that my legs feel like jell-o, and I sort of had to wobble and lurch my way down the steep hill, gritting my teeth against the burning in my quads and hoping they wouldn't just give out altogether.  

The agony was worth it, though.  Down the hill, around a few bends, and half way up another hill, and voila!  My first coltsfoot sighting of spring:


Baltimore Woods has one spot that I have to visit every spring, or it just doesn't feel like it's been spring. There's a little wooded glade that is bursting with myrtle, and it was oozing with charm today.  After wandering through woods that are almost entirely still brown, the lush shiny myrtle green is rich and inviting.




In a few weeks it will be peppered with purple flowers.  

I'm not the only one who finds the spot enchanting.  As I stood and enjoyed the green, a young mother and six girls ranging from about 6 to 14 walked by.  The girls oohed and aahed over the spot, and exclaimed that it must be magic.  I chuckled to myself when the mother worried aloud that it was poison ivy, and alleviated her fears.

I found a few other treasures in my wanderings, including some wonderful critter prints in the mud along the streams.  There were lots of raccoon prints, some fox (coyote?), and some opossum prints.



It was about this point in my walk that I had an argument with my camera, so most of my footprint shots didn't turn out very well.  I hate it when I hit something on the camera and can't figure out what the heck I did to it.  When my husband is with me I usually just hand it to him in exasperation and he fixes it, which means I haven't learned how to do it myself.  It took me a good fifteen minutes of fiddling to discover I'd somehow changed the aperture, which I didn't even know I could do in the mode I had the camera in.  Live and learn.

These two sets had me a little stumped.  Anyone want to weigh in?  This first set is tiny, at only about 3/4 of an inch wide.  Could they be weasel?


And I don't know what made these.  It seems like maybe there are only 4 toes, but perhaps I'm looking at them wrong?  Is the scrape through the middle a coincidence, or from a belly, or a tail?  


The best part of today's walk, though, were the twenty minutes I spent sitting peacefully on a bench in the sun, perfectly warm in a long-sleeved t-shirt and jeans.  I always forget how delicious it is to be able to sit still in the woods this time of year.  One doesn't freeze or get soaked from sitting in snow, and the mosquitoes aren't out yet.  I sat still and listened to chickadees chirping in the branches over my head, a downy woodpecker tapping on the tree a few feet away, and a junco rustling in the leaves behind me.  Several flocks of Canada geese honked their way over me, too, and the nearby stream gurgled deliciously.  Ah, spring!  How nice it is to see you.

1 comments:

Stone Art March 24, 2010 at 1:33 PM  

lovely photos, looks like you had a lovely woodland walk. I am envious as i use to live in the countryside but had to move to the city last year.

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