Good evening my dear friends.
I write to you from my home, watching the bright green blossoms of the Norway maple dance in the breeze. The sun has set and the evening glow is casting a warm yellow light across everything unobscured. I am here, in this moment.
Tomorrow is Earth day, the 50th year anniversary. It's incredible all the changes over the past 50 years. I feel, as individuals, we're responsible for our impact, every bit helps; picking up rubbish in a park to taking reusable bags to the grocery (when that's allowed again) to planting a tree. Every small act can multiply into big changes. I believe in you.
I'm at a curious spot with this blog. It's the time of year where I like to highlight the seasonal flowers you might come across in the woods. In the past I've filled the blog feed with these botanical treats but this year has been a little different. Those of you on Instagram may have seen the flower quiz stories I put together followed by the plant profile the following day. Those of you on Facebook are just now getting a taste of ephemerals (2 plant profiles a day until I catch up to nature).
Do you seek out this page independently? Do you get your updates via the Facebook Page? Are you an Instagram follower who plays along with the quiz game? Or do you wait for the monthly newsletter to come out and read it as a digest?
I am hoping to engage with and stay connected to all of you, so please, let me know with this quick and easy survey, where do you get your TTW updates.
I appreciate all your responses. These will help me focus my efforts to where you actually see the content you want to see!
Have a glorious Earth Day tomorrow my friends. I am glad to know all of you.
The most amazing thing is happening right now. It's all centered around one word... Ephemerals.
Spring ephemerals are plants who have an incredibly short growing period. The term ephemeral can be defined as something that quickly fades. One of the things that makes these plants so special is just that. There is this brief moment of time from mid March to early May where we get to experience the earth waking in the most beautiful display of wildflowers.
Below are just a few that you can see blooming right now... soon they'll fade and it'll be time for the wild geranium, squirrel corn, wild blue phlox, the waterleaf... then we welcome the summer flowers!
Take some time to really consider this overwhelming welcome of spring. How the conditions must be just right, warm and bright but no leaves on the trees. Look at the shape of the leaves of the cutleaf toothwort, the dutchman's breeches flowers, the shrouded blue cohosh. Not only are they a new and welcome change to the forest, alone they are really incredible individuals.
On this early April day I have two different quotes for you, both about the month of April yet each expressing very different opinions about the month.
"April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain."
"April hath put a spirit of youth in everything."
The first one has a strong pull of nostalgia, there's a pain, an absence, a longing for the lilacs of, remember when. The dull roots of the mind, the spring rain of memory. Pushing something that will happen but never in the way we remember.
The second one releases all that. It is free to experience the month in youthful abandon. Not the youthfulness of your past, no, but instead with a youthful essence and openness, experiencing the moment, where you allow all things to be possible. Not anticipating the flower, but being in awe when finding one.
Lately I've been considering the mind. Recently, all of us have had our 'normal' completely tossed to the side. People are coping, processing, reacting in many different ways.
But like the two quotes above show us, it's all up to us to decide how we react.
At a time where so much is out of our control (fellow control freaks I see you) the one thing you can always control is your reaction.
I'm not saying don't be sad, don't mourn, by all means roll around on the floor sobbing into pillows, this is a hard time. But then stand up, look the situation in the eye, and say We Will Get Though This.
Each of us has responsibilities in this situation, stay home, social distance, when out staying 6ft away from one another, and the responsibility of the mind, we will get through this, we must make the best of the situation within the parameters we have.
Along with the initial shock of the situation and losing both of my jobs, I have been holding a heavy guilt. A guilt that even now I'm having trouble writing for fear of being misconstrued.
I have been feeling terrible because I am thrilled.
No I am not thrilled about the masses of folks sick and dying, nor for the small businesses unsure if they'll be able to continue on after this. I am not thrilled about not seeing friends, family, or participating in events. These are terrible things and I mourn deeply for them.
I am thrilled, however, about the impeccable timing; this is a magical time of year to be outside. Naturalists rejoice - we have an audience and they are in the woods! Wanting people to appreciate nature, they must first experience the magic that it is.
In a time so uncertain it is unbelievably reassuring to know that first the skunk cabbage will bloom, then the ducks will migrate through, the tree buds will open next, followed by the ephemerals blooming, the songbirds will migrate through, and the trees will fill with leaves...
Coming back to nature can bring so much more than just fresh air and exercise, it can bring a sense of something so much bigger than our personal worlds. In these times it can be a huge comfort.
This time can be looked at both ways, as a terrible tragedy and as a blessing. And I think we should (look at it both ways). We should make the most of the time we have to enjoy and appreciate what we can (again, within the parameters we have).
Just like the two quotes above, remember, you are in charge, only, of how you react.
Let's allow the spirit of the season move us.
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.