Friday, March 30, 2018


First hepatica at the Cobble - like little ragamuffin children bursting out of their dark, winter-weary houses into the sunlight, clad only in raggedy leaf dresses with flowers in their hair.

There's an open space preserve nearby named Bartholomew's Cobble where I often go to hike, especially now when warmer weather brings snow melt and the forest floor wakes up. Spring is the season of littles - all those baby plants! One of my favorite first flowers is the blunt lobed hepatica (see above).

Hepatica at the Cobble

The merest hint
of spring brings them out
like small children bursting
from a winter-weary house.
Out of the dark into the light
wearing only leaf scraps
for clothing and flower petals 
round their heads,
they clamber over rocks
and peer down the wooded hillsides
to the wandering river
or lean back to stare, yellow-eyed
at the blue bowl of sky.
How such a small, green, growing thing
can move the weighted earth,
how blooms so delicate, so barely visible,
can reach and swell the human heart,
is one of the world's
happiest miracles.

If I stand still on the Cobble path and close my eyes, what comes first are not images, but sounds - the plaintive two note song of the chickadee and the harsher call of the phoebe, the whisper of disturbed leaves, the crackle of twigs underfoot, the sigh of the wind through the hemlock and cedars, the scritching of windblown oak leaves, the startled honk of a goose and a great flapping of feathers

The sun hugs my shoulders, the breeze pats my cheek. Eyes open now, I see a splash of brilliant green moss, the small spirals and whorls of fuzzy stems, leaves lifting to the sun. Such small things growing under the giant trees. The wind whirls like a child at play, then hunkers down to blow at a leaf. 

I stop to break the fragile ice that has shrunk to the size of a dinner plate in the middle of a puddle. The sweet, fertile scent of mud, of the earth waked from its winter sleep, fills me with elation.

I could look for spring in the curled 
leaf bud of the lilac bush
in the happy morning sunlight or
the kissing warmth of the southern wind
Maybe it's in the cardinal's love song'
or in the mad swirl of starlings
streaming from the treetops
or even the delighted burble of
a road side stream
I could poke under last year's leaf mulch
for this year's bloodroot
or kick the gritty snowbank into
a thousand glistening fragments
but I think I will simply go to the edge of
the road where the mud lives and
breathe deep