It all begins deep in the ground. Before anything appears above the ground, things have to happen in the damp,chilled earth. From roots and seeds, life slowly pushes up toward the sun. Many plants are now sending up leaflets, bits of green poking up through the debris of last fall. Rosettes of leaves sprawl out. Some are easily recognized as thistle and dandelion. Furry mullien leaves have survived the winter. But many plants send out rosettes of leaves that are nothing like what the plants "mature" leaves will look like. As I walk through the woods, I note these mysteries and wait. If I had just gone to the woods when the plants were up and blooming, I would miss these changes. I would not see nature revealed leaf by leaf. I would only get part of the story. So I walk and watch, and wait.
The trees are slowly starting to bud out. The forest is harder to see into as a green haze develops. If you look, you will see the aspen. Here a group of aspens, all showing spring green, while next to them, another group without a bud. It is one of two times of a year when you can tell a secret that the trees have hidden from you. They are not single trees, just growing by on another. They are connected. Under ground. Root by root. Each group is a single organism, blooming and growing in unison. The next group will not time their lives the same, blooming sooner or later, loosing leaves at different times. As you see where each tree lies in relationship to it's neighbors, you will see which is connected to which. You can see the hidden boundries of each tree. You can also see it in the fall when the leaves change color.
Violets continue to bloom, Canada Anemone have popped up and the ferns have begun to unfurl. Little brown birds, given a second look, reveal Palm Warblers have arrived, leading the way for spring migrants. No time to blink on the walks these days, as the world changes minute by minute.