The older I become the more I appreciate Nature as she is, Nature the Creatrix of the Earth. Nature creating without human intervention. The cycles of life and death are so intimately intertwined and never more evident than in the spring when each rotting log becomes home to ants who are feasted upon by black bears (whose primary protein source 93% comes from ants, grubs and larvae). Splintered detritus becomes the rich soil that supports the seedlings of the next generation of trees, even as the ground peppers the moment with the delicate three lobed trillium, lady-slipper, twin flower, partridge berry trailing arbutus, unfurling spirals – the birthing of ferns, and perhaps my favorite, wild lily of the valley soon to fill this forested glade with her intoxicating scent.
Outside my window, diversity reins as Royalty! Maples, ash, oak, beech moose maple, witch hazel, spruce hemlock, fir, balsam converse with one another, above and below ground – their language is made of pulsing vibrations, sound and scent. The naturally fallen white birch logs crisscross each other creating complex and unique patterns apparent to any artistic eye. The brook is wending her serpentine way to the sea, her spongy banks of sphagnum moss are steeped in emerald. The translucent papery thin leaves of the beech tree ripple in the slightest breeze.
Everywhere a multitude of shades of greens – greens that I cannot name – a writer’s palette is pitifully limited to words like jade, olive, spruce, lemon, lime, emerald, sage; this language can’t come close to describing the wonder of a woodland forest coming to life. Every leaf and twig emanates a luminous glow. Evergreens bristle, their delicate fingers stretching towards the filtered light of a canopy that protects the most sensitive eyes. Sweet moist air fills thirsty lungs, the sound of light rain brings out a symphony of frogs. The brook pools mirror blue sky through lacy ferns and wild sprigs of lily of the valley that are springing up under a woodland carpet, a pine – needled floor. In the distance, rose pink, magenta, and lilac merge into a huge field bouquet. The highest grasses hide white and purple violets, star-like lupine, deep blue spires of ajuga gone wild. As I observe the snowy crabapple loose her glorious white crown I think I have never witnessed such wonder, this coming home to spring.
I recently returned from the high desert where I created small gardens against my adobe house, experienced the beauty of wildflowers and an abundance of sage green shoots appearing where none were before thanks to the generosity of the Cloud People. Even the hills were glazed in gray green, and one tree frog called from a nearby ditch. I was profoundly grateful to experience this year’s desert spring.
And yet, nothing prepared me for the miracle of experiencing a second spring here in the North East after a three year absence ( I returned the summer before last but missed the spring). The North Country Woman thrives under a canopy of green because her roots are here stretching deep into rich woodland soil. These deep roots are nurtured by regular rain and moisture, cool nights and a sun that is less intense. Perhaps too my Indigenous Peoples are calling me back…
I don’t know how to reconcile my love for dear friends and a thriving community in New Mexico with this felt sense of rootedness in Northern place. My body knows that she belongs here.
It’s almost as if I have had to go through a desert to find my way ‘home’ after I fled to escape harsh winters.
Here my body thrives; there I find community.
How, I ask myself, am I ever going to heal this split?
Sara is a naturalist, ethologist ( a person who studies animals in their natural habitats) (former) Jungian Pattern Analyst, and a writer. She publishes her work regularly in a number of different venues and is presently living in Northern New Mexico.