May 22, 2019
We had planned our trip to Duluth with the idea of seeing early wildflowers. Unfortunately, weather had its own plans and didn’t check with us. Instead of a day ripe with sunshine and wildflowers we drove north through cold rain and wicked wind. What flowers could possibly be blooming in this tail-end-of-winter weather?
And yet, as we got farther and farther north, we began to see glimpses of trilliums under the trees alongside the road, sometimes carpeting the ground. Deciding it was worth a shot, we pulled into Banning state park where more and more trilliums, along with wood anemones, dotted the ground among the pines. Pussytoes raised their small white furry flowers into the air, and in the wet ditches marsh marigolds blossomed brilliantly.
Even though it was raining, we decided to go a short distance down a trail where last year we’d seen an explosion of wildflowers around this same time. We parked, opened umbrellas, and promised ourselves we’d only go a few minutes down the partly flooded trail before we turned back. But the sweet green trees, luminous in the rain, beckoned, and we found ourselves following along the Kettle River, spotting more and more trilliums, petals drooping in the rain but still bravely blooming. Canada mayflowers were in bud, ferns unfurled, wild ginger leaves unfolded, and false rue anemone and wild sarsaparilla were just beginning to bloom.
Just a little farther, we told each other as Kelly wandered down a series of stone steps while I followed a higher trail. Finally, full of springtime about to bloom, wild green light, and the sound of rapids raging, we made our way back to the car. Who says you can’t go wildflower searching in the rain? Not us, not with umbrellas and a whole springtime waiting to unfold.