Beginning in late winter, the skunk cabbage is the first life to emerge from the cold snow covered ground. Through rapid growth, its cellular respiration actually melts the snow around it reaching up to 60 degrees Fahrenheit! The skunk cabbage gets its name from the smell emitted from the spathe (reddish brown thing) generally after disruption or bruising. This smell is important as it attracts the flies that will then pollinate the spadix (round yellow ball that sits inside the spathe: not shown). By late spring, a tight roll of bright green leaves emerge from next to the spathe, slowly unraveling into huge green cabbage-like leaves that will blanket the wet and wooded area in which it lies.
January: Named from the Roman god Janus, who is represented with two faces looking in opposite directions - as retrospective to the past and prospective to the future.
A new year, let it start slow - although this year is warmer than most, soon the cold, muted snow will come, then bit by bit will begin unfolding new traits, the rains come, a flower opens, the skunk emerges from its slumber.
While it's easy to get caught up thinking about the future, don't forget to pause and enjoy this ever so brief moment of stillness.
Let yourself stand out in the elements today, breathe in the cool stillness, only now, right now, on this day (whenever you're reading this) this breath is just for you and only you and will never be exactly like this, these scents, these sensations, ever again. How full yet fleeting a mindful moment can be.
Wishing you all a wonderful 2023.
Since 2015 we have been exploring and sharing all the amazing things we’ve found in nature.
Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who is most often found out in the woods.