The State of the Woods

One week after I photographed the lilac buds in my yard, there are officially lilac leaves on the little bush. Not only is spring early this year – there are reports of cherries blooming now, as opposed to their normal mid-May – but also it seems to be progressing pretty quickly. Since ski season is thoroughly over (a week of 80+ degrees will do that), I guess I don’t mind so much, but I do fear for the agriculture. What’s a fruit tree to do?

3/22…These were just starting to bloom at the end of May last year:

We took advantage of the nice weather and transplanted that guy. Anyone know what it is??

Considering there are reports of morels being found downstate, and my mom is sending me taunting photo-messages, Tony and I decided to head out to the woods this afternoon. We weren’t expecting to find anything, but once you’re out there, you can’t help yourself – you must look.

The spring-time woods holds a special appeal for me. Every hardwood forest, even those I’ve never tipped a toe into, produces a strong nostalgia. I spent untold hours trekking around southern Ohio with my parents, from my earliest childhood. Some of my fondest memories of the time are from mushroom-hunkin’ trips. The smells and sounds and textures and light qualities are all familiar and much-loved. It’s a connection I share so strongly with them, that we can go morel-hunting together by simply sharing mushroom-dreams (for non-hunters, these are dreams you have about going mushroom-hunting, often in the off-season…not hallucinogenic dreams!) or phone calls about our outings.

Today fresh dirt, garlic-y leeks, and old leaves permeated the crisp woodland air. The crackle of rotting branches snapping and the sigh of decomposing bark slipping from tree husks punctuated the lilting birdsong. Wildflowers opened their faces to the sun, and new growth pushed up from the earth. Yes, the woods is awakening. The morels remain secreted away underground, but I am on the hunt!

Also, nearby Sleeping Bear Dunes – as seen from the beach in Empire – is beautiful


3 thoughts on “The State of the Woods

  1. What you transplanted may be a Ponderosa Pine – and then again I could be wrong. Ponderosa are what’s prevalent here. I have wandered about the yard a bit these past couple of days, making tiny piles of some debris as I search for green sprouts, longing to get out and start the clean up process (about which I’ll be complaining shortly after), and then the cold or the snow or the rain showers drive me back inside. Maybe in April.

    • I thought of your snowy Ponderosa photo, and hoped that’s what I had planted. We have so many different kinds of pines and spruces around here. Of course I googled (funny that that’s a verb now…) them, but the pictures weren’t distinct enough for me to tell. I’m just glad we have something there now. Perhaps you should be grateful you can’t get out and get things cleared. We try to use a reel mower on our ~2 acres of lawn, and it’s work! Work that now needs done in March 😦

  2. You have leeks! I am now wishing for some…but no time to go looking this week. Thought about hunting for morels today but thought, naaahhhh, can’t be any yet. Aren’t springtime woods delicious? And delightful! Thank you for the tour, dear Heather.

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