Saturday, April 11, 2009

Trillium time again

I'm not sure why I get so excited when the trilliums bloom in the spring. It shouldn't be any great surprise: given the right growing conditions and an adequate amount of sunshine, the trilliums will return year after year; they may be more or less abundant from one year to the next, but they can generally be relied upon to bloom. They're not even the earliest wildflowers in our woods; we've had spring beauties and stonecrop blooming for weeks and the Dutchman's Breeches are just coming into bloom, but I look forward to the trilliums the way a child looks forward to Christmas.

This morning on my walk I saw just a few trilliums blooming in the woods where there were none a week ago. It was 40 degrees and foggy when I left the house, but by the time I returned two hours later, the sun had burned off the fog and the temperature had risen a whopping two degrees. I was chilled and sore (leg cramps...forgot to take a water bottle) but excited about what I had seen: buzzards making big lazy circles above a freshly plowed farm field, dozens of goldfinches flitting like flecks of sunshine through the woods, mottled leaves of the waterleaf speckling a hillside. Earlier in the week, my husband located the nesting site of a pair of wood ducks--a hole about twenty feet up in a sycamore beside our creek--but I haven't had any success in finding the wood ducks, probably because my dog always accompanies me on my walks and she's not as helpful as she seems to think.

On the entire six-mile loop, though, I found trilliums blooming in only two spaces: on the hillside next to our driveway and on the slope right across the road from our house. So far there are just a few, but seeing their bright white faces brightening up the dark wintery woods is like opening an unexpected gift and knowing that it is exactly what I needed.

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