Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Spring Ephemeral Riot has begun...

Wisconsin has more than its share of nature's temporal markers. If you see a blooming Hepatica, it must be mid to late April. Emerging May Apples. The first leaves of the Wild Ginger poking up through the oak leaves. Skunk cabbage. Dutchmen's Breeches. Solomon's Seal. Trillium of many varieties.

We took a nice walk yesterday at Governor Dodge State Park, just west of us in the Driftless Zone where the glaciers never made it. The topography is hilly and beautiful, and if you throw a bucket of water on the ground it will find its way to one of a thousand feeder streams and eventually end up in the Mississippi River.

This is a good time to walk Gov. Dodge because no one goes there when it's "this cold." We saw one other couple on the trail, and I'm sure no one else was out there. I was annoying I'm sure, as I was on my knees and elbows at every turn, wanting to take a picture of this and that. My good wife indulges me.

We were walking the Pine Cliff/White Oak trail, a loop of about 2-3 miles, which is a family favorite. We've walked it dozens of times, and I never tire of it, especially when it changes so much season to season. Large limestone outcroppings hide springs that keep the ferns and mosses happy, and the water flowing down the rock faces makes a wonderful music that is so welcome after a long, quiet winter.

The Sharp-Lobed Hepatica (H. acutiloba) is the first to catch my attention. It's last year's liver-colored leaves that I first notice, which is why the common name of the sp. Hepatica is "liverleaf." This year's growth was already starting up the middle of the plant, and there was at least one flower, small white lovely thing that is one of the first to show up once the sun melts all the snow. Also common were the emerging May Apples that will soon cover the forest floor like a thousand small umbrellas. You can see the flower bud easily on the emerging plants, and in a few weeks there will be large white blossoms hanging below the plant's twin leaves.We are so fortunate to live in a seasonal place. Next week we'll see Pasque Flowers, most likely. Magnolias are blooming, the redbud is starting to show redbuds, and the maples are flowering, so the bees are starting to get out and gather pollen, their first source of food other than winter honey.

I took 71 pictures. Digital, I hate to say it, is here to stay. Anyone want to buy a medium format camera?

Top to bottom: A field of Purple Trillium, Hepatica, an emerging May Apple, Large-Flowered Bellwort, fiddleheads.


mk said...

Riot: Is that anything like a revolution?

canoelover said...

No. A riot is uncontrolled energy that flows over the earth. A revolution is a cold, calculated energy that disrupts the natural order of things. Or the unnatural order of things. Whatever.