I was out early this morning. Well, not so early that the sun wasn’t up, but early enough that it was still low in the sky and the dew lay undisturbed upon the garden and our woods. I embraced the cool, still air and ambled down the path from our lawn and into the woods with my camera on my shoulder. It’s a nice way to start the day, but something that has yet to become a habit.
The path into the woods runs between red alder (Alnus rubra) saplings and is lined with fringecup (Tellima grandiflora) in full bloom right now. The salmonberries (Rubus spectabilis) still have a few flowers while the earliest blooms are now little green fruits. I’ve used this setting for portraits in other years and look forward to photographing people here once more when we’re allowed to be open for business again.
Off to one side of the path, on the neighboring undeveloped five acres, is a small pond. This morning I marveled at the quiet reflections of the alders and vine maples (Acer circinatum) overhead. With a little imagination one could picture this small pond as a quiet pool in a much larger stream. We’ll occasionally see a pair of mallards here, usually taking flight through the trees as we walk quietly along the path.
On the other side of the path is a little grove of black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa) trees with their deeply-furrowed gray bark. We’ve been working to clean up the area around them, which was overgrown with a mix of invasive Himalayan blackberries and salmonberries. It’s now growing up with a carpet of fringecup, large-leaved avens, snowberries, and salmonberries.
The masses of piggy-back plant (Tolmiea menziesii) on the forest floor are now in full bloom, as spectacular as they’ll ever be. I wrote about this plant and the somewhat similar fringecup earlier this week.
A little further along the path we have masses of giant horsetail (Equisetum telmateia). They’re growing quickly and will soon top out a little more than waist high. When they’re fully grown we like to walk among them and let their foliage gently tickle the bare skin on the lower half of our bodies. It feels amazingly sensuous, soft, and gentle. I didn’t do that this morning because they were still covered in sparkly droplets of cool dew.
The tip of every horsetail leaf held a dew drop, creating a shimmering and sparkling dance of light in the woods. Up close it felt even more magical.
We walk these paths through our woods nearly every day and although the route is familiar there’s always something different to see, hear, touch, or smell. Sometimes we add taste for a full five senses experience.