Oh March! The past few days have found me feeling very sensitive and heart-achey for no apparent reason, other than the early spring… when I think of how my heart feels, I have the image of dark, damp earth being pushed aside for a fresh bright green shoot reaching for the yellow warmth of the sun.
Early as it seems this year, I welcome Spring. I welcome the open and raw feeling in my heart, as if someone has removed an armor breastplate after a long and exhausting battle. My ally has been motherwort so far this year. I need her loving support since just the beauty of the wind on my face can make me tear up with the sheer beauty and enormity of the experience.
I had some spare hours on Saturday morning before the 10am opening of the Woodfin YMCA Winter Market. Being on the sleepy side of town, the shops were still closed and the roads nearly empty, barring the threads of misty clouds weaving around the trees, snaking up from the creekbeds.
My car went past the road for the market and past the town limits just a moment later. I kept going, until I noticed a fork in the road, pointing out the Blue Ridge Parkway entrance a few miles down the way…so I pointed myself in that direction and onward I went.
The sun was not quite above the mountain range, and so the diffused light through the clouds was pale and wan. The mist was backlit as it curled around the top branches of the pines and oaks, or spun itself into circles in the little valleys and nooks. I made my eyes stay to the road until I finally reached the Parkway entrance road and found a small pull-off.
I am a cautious person, and do not often go off on adventures alone. I fret and worry and fill my time with stress instead of the sought-after peace…but not today. The pull of the forest was so strong that I could not resist and with cameras in hand, went down the trail that began at the end of the pull off.
Beauty greeted me..then the symphony of the woods. There were crackling leaves, dew dripping from the trees, and as the sun began to climb ever higher, a growing chorus of birds.
Everywhere I looked was gray and green. Grey rocks covered in green mosses and lichens. Dark earth giving rise to tender, baby leaves of many, many plants. Grey bark with mossy stripes, and the grey branches tipped with a green haze. the promise of future leaves.
I found a verdant patch of violets breaking the soil around the base of an oak. Just a few days ago, I ate my first violet of the year…ah…so sweet and fresh! Perfect heart-shaped leaves for a heart-achey me. What a delight, and a gift…
I found mouse ear chickweed (growing between the violet leaves) and some other familiar spring friends like wild onions, henbit and uncurling ferns. While exploring, I came across a mystery plant…the leaves were beautifully spotted with white. When I touched the leaves I found that they had a slight thickness to them, and they were soft and peach-fuzzy.
With the help of a Plant Identification group on Flickr, I now know it to be Hydrophyllum macrophyllum, large leaf waterleaf. It will grow lovely, long stemmed flowers in the warmer days to come, and the leaves will be more solidly green.