Trees and Water

Water and trees

03.17.11 | 1 Comment

Large-flowered Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum)

Trillium. Native Michigan wildflower. This will soon cover the floors of Michigan forests.

This has very little to do with any kind of music, but sometimes that’s just going to have to be okay. I have something to say, and this is my place to do it. You can read it or not read it, and either way will be just fine. I suspect lots of us could use some more time outdoors. I certainly benefited today.  I spent a small part of this warm, sunny afternoon sitting on the edge of the Huron River on the northern edge of Ann Arbor. The woods are still pretty barren here, of course. But very moist, muddy, and noisy with birds. Our side of the earth is certainly waking up. It’s so great to sit quietly in the woods. I watched three male mallards chase a female mallard around in the water. She was paired with one of them and they were flying, circling around above the river. A second male spotted them and started to fly toward them. All three landed in the water and the males started squawking and clucking at each other. Then the third male came paddling along and joined the fight.

The photos I’ve included are not mine. I’ve linked to the websites they’re from. They are images of a few of my favorite native Michigan wildflowers.

Jack in the Pulpit. Native Michigan wildflower. Another of my favorites, soon to be seen all over midwestern woods.

Jack in the pulpit are really fun to look for because they stay kind of hidden, and the actual pitcher part of the plant doesn’t always last very long. The leaves are so distinct, though, that you can still spot them pretty easily later in the summer. It’s pretty fun for me to identify plants, flowers, trees, birds. I didn’t always know this about myself. A really dear friend from Bloomington, IN awakened this passion in me. She is actively all about being outdoors. She takes nature themed courses and workshops about tracking animals in different seasons, studying your own yard as a habitat for particular animals, and other awesome things. And she’s freaking skilled at tracking animals and identifying trees. It’s really special when a person can give that kind of gift to another. There have been a specifically small number of incredible people who have awakened particular things in me, and have given me great intellectual and spiritual gifts over the years. I’m extremely grateful.

My path out to the river was fun. I walked from the parking lot, across the bridge, under the highway, past another parking lot, and then into the woods. There was still a bit of slippery snow and ice on the first part of the trail. Then things got muddy. Wet leaves and mud. It all smelled and felt so great. I was looking for a place to sit. I chose the middle path to go down and after a bit, saw a bench on the side of the trail. I figured I might sit there, but I felt the pull of the river to my left and really wanted to make my way closer to the water. As soon as I got to the bench, I noticed a path angled directly at the water. It felt placed there just for me in that moment. I turned left and walked toward the water, smiling and excited. I wasn’t sure where I would sit, not wanting to get a wet bum. I noticed an enormous tree with at least 6 trunks branching out from the base. There was a wide, leaf covered segment at the base that I could fit into, facing the flowing water. Honestly, I almost went swimming. I think the tree was a maple (it had deep striped bark), but I’ll have to go back soon and study the twigs. I can also wait until there are leaves, but then that’s easy. After sitting for a while and getting what I needed, I got up, put my hands in the water, looked around me, and then left.

I definitely need to do more of this. I’m filled up again. And while taking my three boys out in the woods is lovely, they’re such a noisy, wrestling, rowdy lot (that I love fiercely), that it can get hard to find this kind of lasting connection and peacefulness.



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