Who are you? And you? And you? Such were the questions everywhere we turned this morning.
I’d picked up a few Greater Lovell Land Trust docents on the way to our Tuesday Tramp location and met a few others at the gate. After our meet and greet, we walked down the road at breakneck speed, not stopping much because we were more focused on catching up.
I say not much, but scat did give us pause. And in this place, we can always count on bear scat. Rather fresh bear scat. We never did see the bear, but knowing it was there was enough. Not long after that we listened to a barred owl. And then we flushed a couple of wood ducks that we barely viewed. It was OK with us that we didn’t see these critters–we felt honored to share the place.
When the dirt road turned to grass, we continued on, anxious to reach our destination just below the cliffs that provided a backdrop to the spring foliage.
As the brook came into view, our excitement rose.
At last, we’d arrived.
And that’s when the “Who are you?” questions really began to form. The slender toothwort wasn’t yet in bloom, so we had to key it out in Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide based on the compound leaves that were toothed. The flower buds hinted at pink, thus helping us. But really, we felt as if we’d never met this friend before.
And then there was the young stalk of a wild sarsaparilla. We shared a brain–looks like poison ivy when the leaves first open, three leaves, globe-shaped flower underneath, there’s another form–bristly . . . bristly sarsaparilla. And we suddenly remembered that we knew this friend, which was probably a wild sarsaparilla, the more common of the two.
And who next showed its face–drooping in form as its flower did? Again, we had to think it through–finally recognizing it as a sessile-leaved bellwort or wild oat. Of course, once we knew it, we identified it with one amongst our group who first introduced us to it. For the rest of the summer, we’ll know it and will always recognize it as her plant.
Then there was the accordion-leaved plant that grew abundantly–its spring green appearance enhanced by rain drops. We knew we knew it. We just had to rack our brains some more, much as one does when encountering any acquaintance not seen in a long time. False hellebore finally came to our tongues.
Thankfully there were some that didn’t tax our brains. We’re grateful for dandelions wherever they grow for the bees love them and we love the bees. We need the bees. We NEED the bees.
Other friends we could name immediately, but still were happy for the moments spent in their presence, like the hobblebush,
and Dutchmen’s britches,
plus their feathery leaves.
Among our findings, we also had fern crosiers to greet once again, including lady ferns
After a delightful-despite-occasional-raindrops, three-hour tour, it was time for us to follow the road back.
We’d spent the morning among old friends, including two we hadn’t seen for months–we were happy to meet Pam and Bob again for the first time this season. Fortunately, we remembered their names 😉 and they ours. Phew!
As spring unfolds into summer, we know we’ll all continue to meet old friends for the first time–and share a brain as we try to remember their names. They say it takes a village. We love ours because we know it’s okay to ask, “Who are you?” Someone will have part of the answer and someone else will add to it and BINGO.