With so much snow still on the ground, it’s easy to see the landscape as a monochrome palette of grays. And so I set out on this St. Patrick’s Day to find some color.
My destination was the Greater Lovell Land Trust‘s Flat Hill trail and Perky’s Path from the end of Heald Pond Road. The parking lot is almost non-existent, so much snow do we have. And the bridge crossing tricky.
As I climbed upward, the thought that some see the world as black (cherry) and . . .
white (paper birch) kept racing through my brain.
And then there are those who accept that gray areas exist (gray birch–a brother of paper birch from another mother).
Textures visible in shadows reflected differences (yellow birch–a cousin),
even among family members (hop hornbeam–also a birch relative.)
It may have seemed there wasn’t much new to see and wonder about, but . . .
the straddle (width from outside of one print in a set to outside of the other) and angle of these prints told a different story. A mink had crossed the trail. (My mitten had to hold the Trackard in place or it would have slid down the trail.)
Nearing the top, I went in search of another mammal who has frequented this area for years–and I wasn’t disappointed. The porcupine trough was fresh.
And then I reached the summit of Flat Hill (forever an oxymoron) and the whites, greens, browns and blues of mountains and sky opened before me. There was even a hint of red in swelling buds.
The wind was cold, so I didn’t pause for long. Instead, I retraced my own tracks down the hill.
And then I turned onto the orange trail that is Perky’s Path and realized the symbolism of the color and this day. My Scottish ancestors smiled down on me.
I’m always drawn to the wetland and had to take a peek at the beaver lodge, which remained snow covered, indicating that no one was home. But there again, the sky enhanced my view.
The path leads to another set of small bridges, and there I stood for a while, taking in the peacefulness and beauty before me. Oh, and the warmth of the sun as its strong rays embraced me.
While I stood and listened, a chickadee called and I watched as it entered a hole in the birch snag. This was a wow moment, for though I know birds use old pileated holes, I rarely see them come and go.
Out he popped, giving a curious look–perhaps because I was pishing.
He paused for a moment and then flew off, chickadee-dee-deeing across the bright blue sky.
I, too, took off, but not before enjoying a few more reflective moments.
The juxtaposition of snow, hemlock branches, water and ice created colorful swirls of artistic design beyond understanding.
And then I found a few wintergreen plants, their waxy leaves transforming from winter maroon to summer green.
On my way out, I stopped to examine a few buds–and catkins, in this case. I love winter, but I am beginning to crave color and beaked hazelnuts will be among the first to flower.
A striped maple showed off its waxy buds, leaf scars and growth rings. The bud reminded me of hands in prayer–perhaps worshipping the patron saint of Ireland.
One bud was sheathed in white. Even with my hand lens, I couldn’t figure it out. I’d like to think it was an angelic covering, but suspect it is a cocoon.
And then there were the bulbous bright buds on the basswood tree.
Indeed, they were a sight to behold. Though winter reduced the color palette to the essentials, slowly the transition to spring has begun.
My journey was done, but I made one more stop along Route 5, where Irish flags flapped in the breeze to commemorate this day. The Irish color–where white signifies the truce between the Orange and the Green.
I always wear a hint of orange on this day in contrast to my Irish guy’s green. And I remind him that St. Patrick was born in Scotland.