Today the trees cast their spring colors against a steel blue sky that promises thunderstorms somewhere to the not-too-distant south. The maples sport dainty flowers in untold shades of red, gold and muted orange. The yellow birch trees stand out in the crowd with their jaundiced bark and frosted, mint green crowns. The weeping willows are yellow-green (or is it green-yellow) with life. Only the oaks, always lagging somewhat behind, are just now realizing they’ll need to let go of those old brown leaves if they hope to wear new green ones this spring. If a stiff wind doesn’t tug them off, the new leaf sprouts will push them out of the way. All in good time… Though more subtle than the fall colors, the spring foliage brings new light and life to the dark landscape.
Today the turkeys put on a show in our big pasture. A big tom is strutting his stuff for a harem of hens that has encircled the main stage. His crimson head gradually turns blue as he fluffs his feathers and splays his tail like a fine, silk fan. The ladies look on with casual indifference, and rightly so. The tom will, as the old country song says, “love ‘em and leave ‘em alone.” The womenfolk will be busy hatching and raising chicks while the menfolk are off behaving like bachelors.
Today I walk through the woods. A bright flash in the distance catches my eye. When I go to investigate. I find a healthy shelf mushroom colony glinting in the sun. The Smokey Polypore fungus calls two lengths of a fallen maple trunk “home.”
Today bloodroot buds hover above the leaf-browned ground, tiny white tulips suspended on thin stems. They’re one of the early woodland bloomers, often growing in snowy spring drifts. I watch as they slowly open to the day’s warmth, revealing the sun-yellow anthers hidden in their petals.
Below the soil lies a little, dark bulb. This wildflower gets its name from the life juices flowing through that bulb. If it’s cut, it bleeds deep red. This red juice is valued for its many medicinal purposes. It’s used as an antiseptic, antibiotic, antioxidant and fungicide. It also has the power to clear up warts, tumors, and other skin conditions. The bloodroot’s power to combat infections and cleanse away impurities is reflected in its purest white bloom.