It is Spring here on the East Coast. Pollen is falling as thickly as the snow fell this winter. My car is now a gilded grey color, shimmering in the strong afternoon sun. My sinuses are packed tight, and mostly, I want to sleep, even with the weeds in my back mud patch calling to me to come kill them and complete their circle of life. As well, the sad plastic bag full of dead hostas that my sister harvested for me... last spring... are erupting again. What is it the poet said?
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Good ol' Eliot. Apparently, he, too, spent the last six months in DCs gridlock of ice and snow and cold and this past week in April watching roads wash out and sink holes form. (And judgy hostas grow in one's back patio and mudpatch.) (Or more to the point, not in the mudpatch, rather in a plastic bag, feeding on last year's dead.)
So, of course, in order to escape the green glare from my garden, I drove (was driven) to the mountains. To look at wild flowers. A lovely day out with friends, something I regularly do, just with less dirt, steep declines, rocks or Solomon's Seal, either false or true, but unknown because the ones we saw were being coy and refusing to flower and thus declare themselves one or the other. But I can do new things. Walking in the mud, looking at flowers, wondering if I'll see a bear. I was going to be a regular Wild Flower Tourer. Tourist?
Except I wasn't. Oh, the hike was lovely. The first hour. Tromping down the steep trail, somewhere in the Blue Ridge. Thinking, is this the Appalachian trail? Cos there's no way I'd be doing this with a full backpack. The company was great. Friends are always the best thing to carry with you into the woods, more important than bug spray or water. But I'm not terribly sure-footed, and spent a lot of time watching every step so I may have missed the skunk cabbage and orchis.
Our guide would stop over some leafy patch, point at it with the borrowed walking staff, and say "That's a May Apple. It is past its blooming period." "That's Rue Anemone (or Meadow Rue) (I think two different flowers) (one of which apparently the heroine of The Hunger Games is named for)" "That's mustard" and each time, I thought, those are green leaves. I did recognize some lovely bright yellow violets and deep purple violets, but only heard tell of the elusive green violets.
And because I am who I am, the home-dweller on the run from her bagged hostas, my mind wandered as I plodded from rock to stick to earth. I was back with the early settlers, wondering who harvested the wild parsnip and carrot? And was the Sweet Cecily gathered by cooks or herbalists? I imagined the struggle to survive in that steep rocky terrain, let alone dealing with bears and skunk cabbage and poison ivy. What if this was a RomCom? Then the guide wouldn't have been a middle aged woman, but a hawt guy with great shoulders who carried bugspray and BandAids. I'd still be in New Shoes, but my top would show more cleavage, and the group would have shrunk from 12 to two, and would include a night in the woods without poison ivy, bad breath, or the need to tinkle.
And then I wondered, where are the dead bodies? Wouldn't this be a good place to dump them? There was a deer carcass picked completely clean, the rib cage empty beside the skull. Zombies, I suppose.
What do you think of on your rambles through the woods? Are you a nature lover who communes with the Divine or do you plot your next murder? Whatever you do, I hope your Spring is spent in the open sunshine, where pollen lightly gilds you and your heart and mind are stirred back to life.