Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Walk at Woods Hollow

When I went to bed last night, the world was all white with new snow.  But by the time I got out for a walk at Woods Hollow Nature Preserve in Ballston Spa this afternoon, the snow was mostly gone.  Only in the deep woods, or whereever no sun had reached it, did any snow remain.  The sun even poked through the clouds for a bit, warming my back as I walked on the sandy path.  If I'd closed my eyes, I might have imagined I was walking on the beach, with soft yielding sand beneath my feet.

Then, if I'd opened my eyes at this spot, I might have imagined these Earth Star fungi were starfish washed up on the shore.

The atmosphere felt quite different when I reached the wooded trails at Woods Hollow.  Snow here covered the icy path, a damp cold crept from the woods, and every breath I took drew in the bracing scent of pine.

It's much too soon to start looking for new spring flowers, but it's always fun to find evidence of last year's blooms, their leaves still bright green despite having spent the winter under the snow.   Of course, that only pertains to those that have evergreen leaves, such as these pretty scalloped hearts of Dalibarda.

Even more exciting is finding the elusive mottled rosettes of Checkered Rattlesnake Plantain, one of New York's native orchids.

The leaves of Fringed Polygala have a dainty beauty all their own, but they can't compare to the splendid show to come in May, when this patch will be starred with vivid bright pink blooms.

I know of a single specimen of Balsam Poplar in all of the Woods Hollow preserve, and I sought it out today to see how its buds were progressing.  Rather nicely, I would say, with these shiny fat golden-brown buds pumping up their volume.

I sacrificed one of those fat brown buds so that I could pry it open and enjoy its distinctive balsamy fragrance. (Luckily, I had some hand-cleaner in my car, to clean my sticky fingers of the thick yellow sap.)

1 comment:

June said...

Oh, the bud looks positively succulent!