Thursday, May 31, 2012
Perfect Day on a Perfect Pond
Today was sunny but cool, with just a slight breeze: a perfect day for a paddle. And oh, did I have the perfect pond to paddle on! I wish I could tell you where it was, but I'm sworn to secrecy by my friend Evelyn, who introduced me to this pond two years ago at just this time of year, when the rare and beautiful orchid, Arethusa bulbosa, comes into bloom. It has become a place of pilgrimage for me ever since. I can never pass up a chance to lay eyes on this vivid magenta orchid, one that is threatened in New York State, and either threatened, endangered, or outright extirpated in most surrounding states.
But here on this pond, with its floating and grounded bog mats, we saw Arethusa everywhere!
Of course, there were other attractions, as well, including Pitcher Plants of the brightest red I had ever seen.
At one point we pulled our canoes up onto the bogmat and walked about on the spongey sphagnum moss, sinking up to our ankles in seeping cold water.
The Bog Buckbean was long past blooming, but the soft green leaves made a lovely backdrop for the vivid Pitcher Plant blooms.
Blue Flag bloomed at the edges of the mat.
Tufted Loosestrife had found a tiny island to bloom on in the middle of a channel.
Is there any flower so perfect in its loveliness as a White Water Lily? I learned today that the reason we never see withered or browning Water Lilies is that, as soon as the flower is fertilized, it closes up tight and its stem retracts to pull it down to the bottom, where its seed ripens in the mud.
A final gift of beauty today was this pretty butterfly. I think it's a Fritillary, but smaller than the Great Spangled Fritillaries I usually see. Does it seem that many species of butterflies are smaller this year?