March 31, 2020
On the last day of March under a clear blue sky full of sunshine we head out to look for some of our earliest wildflowers. It’s been three weeks since we saw the beginnings of skunk cabbage and two weeks since we found the first tiny buds of pasqueflower. Days since then have been chilly, rainy, snowy, sunny–surely something must be blooming.
We drive, socially distant, to a hillside in Hastings to see if snow trilliums have made their brief appearance. At first, it looks as though we are still too early, but a closer look reveals tiny white-tipped buds emerging, a few ready to open on the next sunny day or two.
Snow trillium and pasqueflower often bloom at the same time, so our next stop is River Terrace Prairie Scientific and Natural Area, where on a gravelly hillside we find one perfect pasqueflower blooming, and we cheer for it. More buds raise their furry heads, and farther along the ridge of this gravelly hillside we find a few more blooms just opening into the sunshine.
It’s too splendid a day to go inside so we make one last stop at Nine Mile Creek, where so many skunk cabbage have sprouted that they look like a colony of aliens, protected by squelchy, wet mud that sucks at Kelly boots and pulls her down as she shoots a picture. What’s a little mud on your jeans and sweatshirt, though, to a dedicated flower chaser?
In the wider world we are in the midst of hard times. People are dying. People are afraid. But on a sunny last day of March people are also venturing out, socially distant, into the solace of springtime and of wild (or somewhat wild) places. We went looking for spring on a day of firsts: first snow trillium blossoms, first opening pasque flowers. This is what hope looks like, and now is a time to take hope wherever we find it.