Even before March ends…
Well, people have been saying that this spring is so wildly early. Other springs I remember them complaining it was late. Usually those were springs when I spent March and April working outside, practicing being fun AND safe, rain soaking through my rain gear at temperatures that wouldn’t quite dip below freezing. And I sometimes still long for those times.
Somehow this most magical and fleeting spring of 2016, a spring I am happy to experience on this good Earth, has started to seem perfectly normal to me, early or not. Perhaps that is because the momentum has shifted, there is no stopping it now. Everything is only speeding up, I can no longer revel in one small discovery at a time because each thing is followed by another, and each thing is a part of every other. This rhyme applies to everything I can think of: the spring ephemeral wildflowers and the baby leaves being birthed can hardly be separated from the insects that are coming out of them. Indeed, many insects lay their eggs in and around tree buds so that the larvae can be born right along with their food source. And all of those spring ephemerals exist precisely to be pollinated. Some, as a second choice, might self-pollinate before the flower dies, but given their druthers they will take advantage of the genetic mixing offered by the many specialized species of native bees and flies spreading that DNA around. And indeed when I was out today I couldn’t stop watching the insects, wondering what they were, and where they were going. They didn’t want me to watch them. They were good at losing me. And that makes sense too. My other friends, the birds, are avid insect watchers, the better to eat them. And indeed most of the birds that are currently plotting their migration to the North from their warm winter homes left precisely because they require insects to eat. The insects have got to be good at escaping those beautiful predators. And the birds have got to pay attention, and get their return timing right. So this particular moment is really just a wild and uncontrollable escalation, like an nuclear reaction. No stopping it now, but instead of destruction it is a bringer of life.
Of course this would not be an everycreepingthing post if I didn’t mention to you that I am very busy and have not had all the time my heart desires. Today that means that I have not looked up sweet or confirmatory details about the Hop Tree or the Ironwood or the other lovely plants that I would like to share with you now. I meant to, as it has now been a couple years since I took a plant class. Perhaps I will update this post tomorrow. But tomorrow will almost certainly bring so many more exciting new things.
Hop Tree Fruits on my old mystery ID Tree
Toad Shade, a Trillium, growing in the same spot as last year! But 24 days earlier.
An Ironwood Tree covered with what I am calling catkins until I look it up.
Spring Beauty blossoming and getting some love from an early season pollinator of unknown identity. Honey Bees are not great at pollinating many of our native species- in fact many plants have insects that specialize in pollinating only their particular flowers. One Trout Lily leaf growing in the background. To bloom, a Trout Lily is said to require two leaves. Perhaps another one will grow here, or maybe this plant will store energy created by that leaf and grow a second leaf next spring.
I cannot resist a Redbud in bloom. I kept a branch in water in my office last week and it bloomed already. Today I took the dying branch outside in a paper bag which I brought upstairs to my kitchen to re-use for lunch tomorrow. Inside were a hundred little pink presents! I love having a North-South lifestyle that takes me over an hour North on a very regular basis. As the Redbuds near me are finishing, those at a house I dearly love are peaking, and those near the Farmer are just getting started- unless this warm year accelerates even that usual timing
Baby leaves in the Maple Family, I believe Red Maple. Always something Red on this very adaptable friend.