My mother always said that things happen in threes. It’s a sentiment that has stuck with me and sometimes even haunted me. But when it is good, it is very, very good. And today was one of those days.
Though it was after noon by the time I stepped into Pondicherry Park in Bridgton, the bird song was on high pitch. The American Redstart’s sweet, yet explosive notes came amidst bursts of acrobatic energy as he flew quickly from one branch to the next and then back again a second later over Stevens Brook.
Twenty feet away, the delightful phrases of the Gray Catbird’s tunes filled the air, but it was his raspy mews that gave away his identity. And suddenly, there he was atop a tangle of shrubs and vines as is his habit. I suspected the nest he shares with his lady was located below.
“Wichety, wichety, wichety,” was the give-away song for the Common Yellowthroat, although I do have to say he was much easier to hear than to see.
While the redstart donned the colors of Halloween, the catbird appeared to be a cat in a bird costume, and the yellowthroat was equally disguised with a black mask.
For a few minutes, I stepped off the bridge and followed the Stevens Brook trail where I was met by a delightful surprise. I spied the mottled leaves before the flowers and my heart sang its own tunes with recognition of the species that I didn’t know grew there.
But the Trout Lily flowers were beautiful with a hint of bronze accenting their yellow petals. Do you see the formation? What may look like six petals is actually a configuration known as tepals for it’s difficult to differentiate between the three inner petals and their surrounding three sepals, which had previously enclosed the flower. Ahhh, language.
And within the center core, the pistil (she’s a pistol of a woman) surrounded by six stamen (Stay men), their anthers rusty red with pollen.
Also sometimes agreeing with the division of three were three tiny Goldthread flowers looking all fresh and perky. And their leaves of three parts that remind me of Cilantro.
And then another that knows the number being repeated time and time again: Jack-in-the-Pulpit or Arisaema triphyllum. The “pulpit” from which “Jack” (technically, the “spadix”) preaches stood between two long-stalked, three-parted leaves.
Further along the trail, I watched a female Hairy Woodpecker foraging for insects on stumps and logs.
A male I assumed was her guy did the same.
And then, though the colors don’t really show it in this photo, I heard another bird sing and by his white hanky in the pocket (a dash of white on his wings, right Molly?) I think I’ve identified him correctly: Black-throated Blue Warbler.
I was grateful not only for the two that I knew, but also the third that I’m just learning.
Other flowers showed off their structures, like those of the Norway Maple. OK, so the tree is invasive and grows prolifically in the park because it was originally planted as part of the streetscape above, but the fragrant yellow-green flowers blew delicately in the breeze. (As will their seeds soon, and thus the invasion).
Another that grows much less abundantly, but always makes me smile is the Striped Maple, an understory tree. And it too had flowers to share so there is hope for more of this species.
Flowering in a different way was the Woodland Horsetail, an equisetum. Its flower was in the form of a cone at the tip. Once its spores have been shed, the cone will collapse.
Insects also were part of the scene and tis the season of Mayflies, this one a subimago as indicated by the color of its wings. Cloudy wings indicated it was a teenager that had not gone through its final morph.
And then, a Great Black Wasp–its translucent blue wings giving it away in the duff. I tried to get closer, but it took off.
Such was the case also with a Mourning Cloak butterfly, which would have given me three insects to share. Do remember that insects have three pairs of legs–there’s that number again.
At last, several hours after I’d begun, it was time for me to leave Stevens and Willow Brooks behind.
But not until I had a chance to enjoy the beauty of Painted Trillium (Trillium undulatum), which was my initial reason for the journey. Trillium: Latin for tri, refers to the flower parts occurring in threes; llium: Latin for liliaceous, refers to the funnel-shaped flower; and undulatum: Latin reference for wavy, referring to the petals’ wavy margins.
Mom was right. Good things do happen in threes. Along my journey I also had the blessing of chatting with three wonderful women, Becky, Sheila, and Lori.
Thrice the blessings worth a wonder indeed.