Sometimes when I go to the woods, I stop at the trailhead, close my eyes, and ask for something in particular. That may sound like a weird thing to do, but oftentimes it works. Today I was greedy. I asked for three things: (1) to see a Mayapple flower in bloom, (2) to find a Jack-in-the-Pulpit, and (3) to see a new flower – one that I haven’t seen yet this spring.
The forest has interesting ways of talking to you. It takes a while to learn how to listen, to see the signs, to trust the tug at your attention and follow.
Sometimes an animal will answer your question or lead you to your desire. A bee may buzz by, drawing your attention this way, or a bird will call you over that way. It was a Chestnut-sided Warbler that led me to the Mayapple blossom with his “Pleased, pleased, pleased to meet you” song. I left the main trail and turned to follow a deer trail in hopes of seeing this gorgeous bird. I scanned the tree tops looking for a flash of movement and color. When I finally gave up the search and looked back down at the ground, I found myself standing in a huge patch of Mayapples. Most of them had tight buds, but right in the middle, in perfect sunlight, were two plants with open flowers. Thank you CS Warbler! Pleased to meet you, too. (Next time, don’t be so shy… show yourself!)
To find the first Jack-in-the-Pulpit, I left the trail to get a closer look at a very large patch of Wild Geranium. Even though I’ve taken lots and lots of pictures of this pink-purple beauty already this spring, I couldn’t resist going over to take a few more. And there… next to a tree… the Jack-in-the-Pulpit I had been waiting for. Thank you Wild Geranium! When I returned to the path, I realized that the mass of green leaves cuddled close to a stump concealed another Jack that I had walked past two days in a row.
(Is it true that Jack-in-the-Pulpits are really little microphones set out by fairies to spy on humans?)
My request for a new flower was easily met… just there… on the side of the trail. I believe this variety is called “Mouse-eared Chickweed”… I really need to bring my wildflower books home from work.
Tomorrow I think I’ll ask for Canada Mayflowers and Solomon Seal in bloom, and a chance to see that Chestnut-sided Warbler!
The forest is full of wonders and she is happy to show them to you. All you have to do is ask.