An absolutely gorgeous day in Maine began with a trek around Perky’s Path in Lovell and ended with a visit to the vernal pool behind our house. In between, I had numerous other things to accomplish, but it was the time spent exploring and wondering that added natural bookends to my day.
Only a week ago, I was watching flowers and leaves emerge on trees. They still are, but what a difference a week makes. The trail suddenly seems illuminated.
Among the shining stars–Striped Maple, known by some as goose foot because of its shape. (It’s also known as nature’s toilet paper.)
And Witch Hazel, which is easy to identify by its asymmetrical base and scalloped edges.
And then there are the spring ephemerals, like this Red Trillium, that must flower before the tree leaves block the sunlight.
Painted Trillium was also plentiful. Notice the reason for “tri” in the name? When I taught school, I forced my students to learn word cells–breaking the word down to understand the meaning. Tri=three, llium=referring to liliaceous or the lily family. (They had to learn tri, but llium wasn’t on their list.) I don’t know most of the Latin names, but even a few clues are always helpful.
Another member of the lily family–Hairy Solomon’s Seal. One characteristic of the lily kin–the parallel leaf veins.
One of my favorite spring flowers is Goldthread. It personifies daintiness. While the scalloped, three-lobed leaves remind me of cilantro, Native Americans apparently used it to make tea. So why the common name? The root resembles a golden thread. Simplicity and beauty in a small package.
And yet to come, Bunchberries.
And the greenish white flowers of Wild Sarsaparilla, that grow under the umbrella-like leaves.
I would be remiss if I didn’t include Hobblebush.
In the winter, friends and I usually find otter tracks and slides by this stream. Today, a variety of life spills forth.
A brook flows from Heald Pond to Bradley Pond, and several years ago the Greater Lovell Land Trust constructed a bench to take in the sights and sounds of this place.
The view is ever changing.
Just down the path, a bridge also invites quiet contemplation. (When the black flies aren’t trying to sneak into your eyes, ears and mouth, that is. Protein consumption today? Check)
And a rock garden.
One last look before heading out. Morning has ended.
At the other end of my workday, I’m off to the vernal pool. Among a sea of junipers, an explosion of lavender erupts from one Rhodora plant.
I’m so glad that the Rhodora attracted my attention, because as I turn from it toward the pool, I realize that a bobcat has walked in the direction of our cowpath.
We’ve had little rain in the last few weeks, so while the snowmobile trail still has some muddy spots, the pool is drying up.
Will there be enough water for the spotted salamanders to survive?
And what will happen to the water striders?
I’ll be curious to see how the tadpoles do. These two appear as bookends for me, holding everything in between in check.
Every day, it’s something new. I feel like I have to start all over again learning the features of this season and I’ll just begin to get it by the time summer rolls around, and then . . . so much more to learn. Though I have plenty of books to guide me, it’s the actual events that are happening right before my eyes that provide the most accurate information.
I’m thankful for any opportunity to wonder and wander, especially at both ends of the day.