Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spring's Beauty

 There's mushrooms about. Dan Poffenberger found some snakeheads already and he took a picture to boot. So last evening I dashed to the woods to check out my favorite spot. It looks as barren as mid winter.
 Almost. Today I returned while the sun was shining and see that greenery is actually everywhere, just low and small and timid. It got down to 31° last night and so the mushrooms still have reason to be afraid. It's time, though - or nearly so - and I'll be checking back daily at this point. With a season measured by mere days, one can't afford not to pay attention.

 While staring at my feet, looking for the familiar gray folds of a mushroom, I saw that spring beauties were in full bloom. Their tiny flowers are but half an inch across. I pulled my camera from my shoulder and got down on my knee so that I could get a closer look.
 The spring beauty (Claytonia virginica) is part of the Purslane Family. The tiny flowers are a delicate pink-white with deeper pink viens. If I were to dig the plant up (I wouldn't even consider it), I'd find a tiny potato-like tuber underground. They are edible.
 While examining this delicate flower, I set my camera to macro mode and focused. At that instant a tiny bee alighted on the flower and began collecting nectar, paying me no attention. It would take hundreds of these flowers, I suppose, for him to gather so much as a drop of nectar. His is a more industrious society than mine.
I didn't see so much of a hint of a mushroom. After Monday's heavy rain and today's warmth, I'd have expected something. But no. There is a schedule being followed here which is beyond my knowing. I have the merest of ideas, a range of dates and know nothing more about it.
 I like mysteries and the morel is part of a deeper story than I can fathom. It is weaved in this forest floor, hidden beneath ancient trees, whispered quietly when it is spoken at all. Like a man becoming deaf, I hear the muffled sounds but I do not understand the words by which it lives.