Last week I enjoyed a solitary walk through Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center and Reserve near Kirkwood, Missouri. All was fairly quiet. A gentle, cool breeze swept through the bare tree branches and rattled the brown leaves still clinging to a few stubborn oaks and maples. Leaf litter decorates the entire forest floor; it crackles as I step through it. While the day is still cool (mid 40’s), the Sun’s energy, like the breeze, sweeps past the trees and warms me as I walk.
All is quiet. But I can feel the change in season coming. Some trees are beginning to show their plump buds, ready to spring into action. In just a few weeks, I can imagine the wonderful bluebells (Mertensia virginica – previous post) and wood sorrel (Oxalis violacea – previous post) emerging again and filling the brown forest floor with brilliant color.
But for now, it is still. It is good. Go out and enjoy it. Then, I recommend returning every week or two to watch the dramatic changes. First the spring ephemerals fill the forest floor. Next, shrubs and trees begin to flower and leaf out, depending on their mannerisms. Soon after that, the life-giving light that once warmed the spring ephemeral flowers will be squandered by the trees.