Saturday, March 8, 2008

Greenery. And smellery.

I watch the news from back east, the airports snowed in, record winter snowfall for many major cities.... and I walk out into the nearby forest, thankful (for now) that I moved to this end of the country. Our Heinz Ketchup-paced spring is starting to ooze. Among the first signs are a few of the understory shrubs, which must make the most of the weak spring sunlight, or scant early pollinators. Red elderberry is one of the first to pop its buds, and it grows very quickly from last year's woody stems. The new leaves have a distinctive bitter smell when rubbed. Interpreters tell children it smells like peanut butter. Well, sort of, but not really.

Red elderberry, Sambucus racemosa ssp. pubescens var. arborescens (sheesh), early growth.

Indian plum, Oemleria cerasiformis.

But the first flowering shrub is Indian Plum. For a week or so, when nothing else has leafed out, its pale green leaves and tiny flowers seem to float in the otherwise dark, damp forest. A description of the flowers' scent, From Pojar & MacKinnon: "unusual fragrance (something between watermelon rind and cat urine)."

Finally, a sign of hope, shown as found, a message to those thrown back into the snow and cold.

The future's so bright...


April said...

No green leaves here until May, and then Look Out! Your last picture made me smile :)

Cicero Sings said...

The future was looking bright ... until this morning ... it is snowing out there as I write!

Errr ... I've tagged you in a meme ... curious to see what you would come up with ... only a 6 word memoir ... how hard is that ... grin!