Though I was born an optimist, and a guilelessly romantic one at that, I was pretty sure we wouldn't see anything more inspiring than a little mud on our Sunday hike. And mud we saw, and plenty. Also dripping branch-tips, and south-facing slopes melted bare. Fresh woodchips on the snow, signs of little birdie nest-building exploits. Though neither one of us admitted thinking such licentious thoughts, as we made our way around the lake I'm pretty sure we were both sinking deeper into temptation. Signs of spring? Could it be too early for skunk cabbage?
Each year, on some late winter/early spring hike, the possibility of skunk cabbage crosses my mind. It is, without question, the earliest of all the early spring plants. Its blood is photosynthetic antifreeze, its primitive heart is as hardy and wild as a plant can be. It grows in February, for goodness sake, out of a barren, frozen swamp. Even I was skeptical, as we neared the swamp, but I couldn't resist taking a look.
And of course, there it was. The season's first new growth. Our life raft out of winter. From here, it only gets better.
it doesn't matter what is buried
compared to what is pushing through.
~from Skunk Cabbage, by Thom Ward