The Moment Before it All Awakens

Or at least, that’s what today felt like walking through the forest behind my home in the Gatineau Hills.
That’s the pattern most of the time; snow melts (eventually) and the drab grey fields appear, the stark trees stand looking hopeless, the ground squishes but does not bring forth. That’s April or some of it anyway. It isn’t our prettiest moment in these parts, although to be honest I can’t imagine anything here being unlovely, just more so or less so.. These days in between snow melt and explosion – days or a couple of weeks at most – are still wonderful in that walking is fantastic of your footwear is good; it’s not cold and it’s not hot and there are no bugs at all, nor hunters, and bears can be avoided, thought it’s true they are waking up. It’s a strange little mini-season, with a core type of energy and some influence of course from the planets and stars..  we fall asleep with the windows open, excited to feel the air at last but by 4 am we’re freezing under the  feather duvet and have to get up to close them.  We go out wearing scarves and mittens but have to take them off before long.And it doesn’t last long.

Slowly – imperceptibly if you’re not paying attention – the seedlings and blossoms and babies appear. we tend to notice birds – robins and veerys and mourning doves and kestrels – and we tend to gripe about the sloppy ground and the unpredictable weather. But this phase is  deceptive. There’s always little buds and  catkins and the very beginnings of green everywhere. I started paying attention a while ago; this year is no different.

It’s the moment right before it all explodes. That’s the usual pattern. Grey, dreary, a little greener, a lot greener and then – it’s Paradise. Today was one of those moments right before, I can expect maybe a week at most, the greenery will be dazzling and the forest exploded with beauty and freshness.

What have I seen so far this year?

Well, in this microclimate of the region, we have a zillion  Trout lilies very early on (Erythronium americanum), incredibly dense in some areas, their mottled leaves and bright yellow flowers nodding in the breeze – edible, but the leaves should be steamed, and start slow, they can have an emetic effect on some folks. I’m not excited about eating them.  I’m going to post a separate entry about  Trout Lily, Birthroot, Wild Ginger and other early plants separately, for now here are some image of the lovely yellow flower, right in my backyard:

And a couple of pics from a late April hike – Danny and me, serenaded by a Mockingbird, whose vocal gymnastics never cease to amaze me.

Birthroot everywhere

A veritable ocean of ramps

Indian Creek is “haunted” they say – I prefer the word “enchanted”

He always waits for me, love of my heart that he is.
This time in front of a bunch of hawthorn trees, I cannot wait for blossoms.

One part Mirkwood and one part The Shire – the magic of the Gatineaus has to be felt- and everyone who comes here feels it. Pictures never convey the enchantment -but this picture captures a little wee bit.

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