Friday, March 9, 2012

Not Quite Winter, Not Quite Spring

I love the brief interlude between winter and spring.  The days are damp and mild with lots of cloudy skies, which I love,  and the nights are still chilly enough for a fire in the evening.  And for me, the forest is never more beautiful. The longer days and mild, damp weather set the perfect conditions for some of my favorite woodland plants - the ferns and the mosses.  The extra daylight hours and ample rainfall have made them lush and brilliant green.

Resurrection fern & lichen photo by Starr White

Resurrection fern is so named because during dry periods, it dries up, turns brown and generally appears to be dead.  Then, after a good rainfall, in about 3 days time, it is resurrected - lush and green and lovely.  It is an epiphyte, found mostly on deciduous hardwoods, but can also be found growing in clefts of rock.  I love the contrast between the dark damp bark of the tree, the gray green lichen and the lush, vibrant green of the mosses and ferns.  This is the kind of thing that makes me ridiculously happy.

Moss, photo by Starr White

The trees of the forest are still bare except for their brilliant scarves of emerald green.  However, if you look closely, you will see signs of spring.  Tiny buds and blossoms peek out to see if it is safe to awaken from their long winter's nap.

photo by Starr White
 To be honest, I am sad to see winter leave again for another year.  It is probably my favorite season with its gray, brooding skies and the beautiful bare trees.  I love their architectural form; the delicate, lacy outlines of the bare silvery gray branches.

  I love the quiet, the stillness.  Winter is peaceful, meditative, and calm.  It is beauty with a touch of melancholy which touches my soul in a way that no other season does.  Wouldn't those mosses and ferns and bare branches be just gorgeous with a dusting of snow?  I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

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