Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Into the Woods Again

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

    - "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"
    - Robert Frost

 There wasn't any snow but the woods were certainly lovely, they were dark and they were deep. So thick in fact that we had to move branches out of the way before we could pass. And even then it was a chore. The ground had standing water from two day's rain (over 1.5") and the mud was shiny and slick. Even so, the morning began presenting some sun and the air was already pleasant.
 I am hunting morel mushrooms again with Dan Poffenberger. Our collection bags will remain empty but our souls will fill with the beauty of a spring woods.

 These polypores were shining with last night's rainwater and they seemed fresh and new. Living on rotting trees, polypores are fungi and do the job of decomposing fallen wood. They are, in truth, wild mushrooms, just not of the type we were hunting.

 This Soloman's Seal still held rain drops on its delicate leaves. Nature takes care of her own however well hidden from view.

 My greatest surprise was a thicket of Virginia Bluebells (Virginia Cowslip) growing deep in the woods. They are wildflowers, to be sure, but it seemed strange to find so many spread over such a large area. They could be seen through the trees from some distance away.
 I can imagine some 19th century farm wife planting them on her homestead. This land, in German Twp. and near the western edge of Montgomery County, was probably part of the Paula Lind farm. Lind was an early aviator and actress (b. 1897) and I suspect she had a hand in these. And if she didn't, she should have.

 Up close, the bluebell name is the perfect description. When buds, they are purple but the fade to a baby-blue as they mature. Is there a more perfect shade of blue? The sky itself must envy this color on the forest floor.

Whose woods these are I think I know
His house is in the village, though. [RF]

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