Monday, April 18, 2011

The Earth Blooms

 It is the season where the planet seeks to live again and every pore seems alive with activity. As I rounded the Farmersville pond today, frogs, basking in the mid-day sun, launched themselves in wide arcs and landed in the water with a loud plop. Most do not think of frogs as having a scream and yet, just as they jump, the startled amphibians let loose a sharp scream, reminiscent of a horror movie.
 But it is the plant and fungus world that most commands my attention. Even in our yard, the grass has been greening for weeks and now the dandelions bloom in profusion and dare me to dig them all. Daily I make the rounds and every morning there is a crop anew.
Every now and then, I'll find a vivid purple staring back at me. If it's henbit, I pull it; if it's a wild violet, I pass.

 Whose garden would not welcome a face such as this? It reminds me of a pansy, only infinitely smaller. The tiny leaves are attached to a bulb-like structure at the base - perhaps a rhizome? - and the violet spreads, I would guess, in this way and through seed. I'd welcome a whole yard of these, a veritable frothy royal sea. The delicate  little throats are fuzzy, a natural velvet; their petals are varied, striations of sky blue fading to near-white; and the rounded leaves, a contrasting and healthy green, speak of their love of the spring sun.
 Then walking in a nearby woodlots, the plants abruptly change. Here they get little sun and fight the leafy trees for slivers of sunlight. Still, on a sunny day in the spring, the tiny Spring Beauty seems happy as can be here on the forest floor.

Like the violet, they have striated petals but here of pinks and whites. Yesterday, while the wind blew and rain showers swept through the area, I saw not a single Spring Beauty in bloom. Today, sunny and pleasant, they have again opened their petals to the bright light sweeping the woods from above.
 And yet the Earth blooms, too, not in colorful petals but in grays, yellows and browns. And this time of year, for about ten days, these are the colors I most cherish.

 Fungus rises from the leaf mold now and shows its head in sponge-shaped forms. The morel smells of the soil. It carries the fragrance of sex itself, almost semen-scented and intoxicating in its own way. It is rare and its time is short and its value rises according to the economics of supply and demand.
 The morel on the top-left I found yesterday but did not pick it because I could not find even one more. I thought it best to let it stand and complete its cycle, seed the Earth for next year's crop. But today I found it had doubled in size and three more had risen nearby. What will the coming days produce? If no more than these, I will be satisfied. My "never-fail" spot has again rewarded me.
 Every tree bursts forth. Every bud strives to open. The Earth rises up in varied form.
 The Earth blooms.