Dense gray clouds filling the sky.
Air cool and thick and wet.
Good walking weather.
Three weeks ago:
Leaves just making their annual debut.
Now, through the neighborhood:
Every tree in full summer regalia.
Magnolias casting aside their old yellow leaves, freshening their wardrobes for the season.
Azaleas fluffing their petticoats of fuchsia, pink, white, and rose.
Rhododendrons about to follow suit.
Last night’s rain still lying about.
Water droplets glowing in the low early light.
Puddles filling every hollow: cupped leaves, divets in the road.
At the trailhead:
A box turtle resting in the middle of the path.
Eau de skunk wafting through the air.
In the woods:
The trail now winding through a tunnel of green.
Forest sounds, so loud in winter — creaks, breaks, scuffles, calls — muffled in a cocoon of leaves.
Tight white blackberry buds beginning to unfurl.
A barn owl muttering from the treetop.
At the water:
Ospreys scouting sticks to add to their fine high nests.
Tadpoles, black and clustering in the shallows.
A lovely one!
[* * * More photos from our gray morning walk on Flickr * * *]
Over the weekend, the camera was busy. The fruits of its labor are now up on Flickr, starting right after yesterday’s catkins: sprouting leaves, fresh flowers, beautiful bark, a tree knot that looks just like a snail’s face (do you agree?), log-hopping Canada geese, and perhaps our strangest finding: a white-tailed deer that looks more like a pinto than a deer, due to a pigmentation anomaly.
For months out on the walking trail, we’d heard murmurs of the deer’s existence. Finally, yesterday, we spotted it! We felt like we’d seen the Loch Ness Monster, or a Yeti. Wild!
Now, leaves are beginning to take their turn in the sun: oak trees, maple trees, tulip trees — all of them are greening.
The oaks, with their young red leaves and spring green catkins, are particularly lovely.
This time of year, aged leaves on the evergreen hollies turn yellow and drop away, while new growth sprouts at the branch tips.
Greenery may be gaining ground, but the flower show is far from finished. Each day, new blossoms show their faces. This week’s favorite: the redbuds, which sing in a purple chorus from lawns and roadsides.
Such a wonderful time of year — all this giddy new life!
Another full moon tonight! Nicknames for March’s moon vary among cultures, but a common theme is wind — The Windy Moon, the Moon of Winds. The last few nights have indeed been windy in these parts, but this afternoon we’ve got sun and a gentle breeze. A perfect day for lunch outside on the porch!
As I thought I might, I am making today another fasting day. Remember, there are many ways to fast, and a great one is the vegetable-and-grain fast: for one day, choosing to eat only vegetables and whole grains, drink only herbal tea and water, and do nothing but eat and drink while eating and drinking (no computer, no TV, no phone). Taking a day — just one day — to be mindful of what and how one eats. A day to rest the body. A day to treat yourself well!
I really enjoy these fast days. They are something different, something good. A nice ritual to introduce into the rhythm of one’s month. I will admit that I was actually excited when I woke up this morning and remembered, “It’s Fast Day!”
Today’s menu: steamed potatoes and kale for breakfast, red lentils and rice for lunch (on the porch in the sunshine!), veggie sticks and hummus for snacks, and vegetable soup for dinner.
From our walk yesterday afternoon:
Puffs of white in the sky, puffs of white on the dogwood trees.
Rain stipples the surface of the lake.
The great blue heron stands belly-deep at the edge, gulping a fish breakfast.
I have tried to make his portrait, but he is camera-shy and retreats to the trees.
(Oh, for a telephoto.)
When he takes flight, the scene is of an airborne pterodactyl in a clunky sci-fi movie — except he’s a heron, and the scene is real life.
When he’s around, the swans disappear. Maybe it’s for the best.
Last weekend, the flowering trees dropped all pretense of modesty, their first tentative blooms proliferating in a show of fertile exuberance.
This wild blossoming -- the best part of spring in Virginia.
Never have I lived with woody plants that bloom with such abandon.
This week: white dogwoods, rosy magnolias, yellow forsythia.
Patiently, I am waiting for the laurels and rhododendrons. Those white and pink fireworks!
For days, I had been looking for the first green leaves to sprout from the woody branches along our walk. And yesterday, we saw them!
Is there any truer spring green than new willow leaves?
Walking in Season will be VERDANT next time around!
(If the sun and warmth return. But they will.)
Do you remember these in their infancy one month ago?
They’re all grown up now!
From a deep place, from an old place,
we have longed for this day.
Darkness and light stand palm to palm,
their strength equal.
Then, with grace,
In the light, every living thing stirs.
Together, we breathe a contented breath,
We turn our faces toward the sun.
What fell into shadows
in the cold, still months
is illuminated once more.
What hibernated beyond our reach
pads near again.
- Laurelin Evanhoe
At the store today, Matt picked out an exceptional bunch of asparagus.
Spring green, and pencil thin — the tenderest and tastiest!
So lovely, I almost thought about making it a centerpiece rather than a meal.
My favorite asparagus trick: holding each end and bending the shoot until it snaps.
You’ll get the tough, fibrous end in one hand and the tender, sweet end in the other. Poach the good end for 3-5 minutes, and pitch the tough one. (Oh, how I wish for a compost bin. Someday!)
I like to eat my asparagus plain. But if herbed butter is around, I won’t turn it down!