Friday, December 15, 2006

A Spring Memory

Sometimes when you buy yourself a new present you have to take a breather and enjoy it. Today on the way home from work I stopped to walk our new land and make a few more mental notes. I hadn't stopped by yesterday because I was in Burlington and Richmond until late so today was the perfect day for a walk.

The temperature was surprisingly warm and although there was an occasional rain drop, it was a very uncommon December day. I remember days growing up when by now the snow level would be halfway to the botton of the first floor house windows. I would already have been instructed to begin banking the north side of the house with snow to cut down on air infiltration. I didn't get much explanation of why I had to do this but it seemed right since I witnessed others doing the same thing. The difficult part was being six.

No shoveling today as the little snow we have had was melting with temperatures approaching 50 for a brief period as a front moved through. I wanted to check the river and then review all the chain saw work I did a couple weeks earlier.

I parked the truck midway along the river and got out. Years ago farmers collected the few stones from the property and dumped them along the river bank, forming an odd looking wall of sorts. I sat down on the one smooth, moss-free stone and looked around. By now all the leaves have fallen and the ground contour is obvious.



A few feet from where I sat I recalled a beautiful clump of bloodroot. To an untrained eye they would be nonexistent but I remember things like this and the dormant plant caught my attention. Back in May, before we owned this land, I wrote about bloodroot in The Vermont Gardener http://thevermontgardener.blogspot.com. It has always been an interesting plant to me. Although I don't have as many plants as I'd like, those here by the river will get special attention from next spring on and I'll try to grow a big colony over the next few years. The seed heads on one plant had been tamped into the ground by a large deers foot. I guess nature plants in strange ways too.

As I sat on the rock I noticed the absence of certain things. I thought for a moment that it was an odd way to enjoy a place....by its missing parts. My mind reviewed the great blue heron, the pair of kingfishers, the black ducks in mid October, the merganser family and the two muskrats I only saw once. They're gone....absent until next year.

Today was a nice day to walk the land, enjoy nature and plant new gardens in my mind. It's very peaceful along the Winooski River and I think the new gardens will share that same feeling for years to come. I hope you had chance to walk too.


Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond, where dropping temperatures and wet ground make temporary quiet for the little creatures of the early night. Someplace close by an owl reviews an unprinted menu, and the lands of Vermont Flower Farm will serve as his dining table.

Good gardening wishes,

George Africa
http://vermontflowerfarm.com
http://thevermontgardener.blogspot.com

2 comments:

Ki said...

Beautiful bloodroots. Thanks for posting them. My two finally bloomed last spring. I was so taken with the flowers and the way the leaves unfurl I bought a whole bunch more.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Wonderful pictures. I'm not so sure that the heron and other wildlife are completely absent... obviously they still inhabit the land in some way, if only by their absence. :)