One Week into the Wonders of Spring!

An Eastern Bluebird looks down from his perch on a branch, the background in the image is blurred.

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

“At the end of winter, there is a season in which we are daily expecting spring, and finally a day when it arrives.” – Henry David Thoreau The Journal, 1837-1861 (Thoreau, 2009)

The Spring Equinox is an exciting symbol of rebirth, growth, and awakening. Creatures that hibernated are stirring, birds are returning from distant lands, and the earliest of spring’s woodland wildflowers are pushing up through thawing soils. For me, that moment of recognition of the passing of winter was not the appearance of lawn-hopping robins or the emergence of crocuses. It occurred on the first day of spring at Bear Creek Nature Park in Oakland Township. That’s where a friend and I watched an Eastern Bluebird perched on a tree limb, waiting for an insect to appear in the meadow below. Perhaps its sudden downwards plunge and the capture of a bug that followed was confirmation to the bluebird that, as Thoreau once wrote, “ . . . and finally a day when it arrives.”

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Spring Beauty of the Woodlands: Round-lobed Hepatica

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

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My love affair with a delicate spring wildflower, the round-lobed hepatica, transports memories back to my nature-embracing, hill-trekking, wide-eyed freshman days at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. The farm fields, meadows and wooded hillsides of the Green Mountain State became my nature discovery center. Seasons in Vermont progressed rapidly. Winter melted into maple sugar and mud season, and the amazing ephemeral wildflower season then followed. I quickly discovered hepatica my first spring in Vermont. Hepatica was a wild and free flower, so unlike what I knew from my suburban home, with closely cropped grass and flowers planted in neat rows. In Vermont, hepatica was called liverleaf, and it was this wildflower, that is now approaching peak bloom in the dappled sunlight of the oak woods on the Wilder Side of Oakland County, that helped set me on the path I still follow. Continue reading