I am pleased to offer the 15th of my new GBH Brief Form Posts to my website (Less than three-minutes to read!) I tend to get a bit long-winded with my routine Posts. I don’t want my enthusiasm for thoroughness and detail to discourage readers. So I will publish these brief Posts regularly.
Brief-Form Post on Spring Wildflower Delights at Wheeler NWR
March 11, 2023, I returned to the east-central arm of Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, fifteen miles south of my Madison, Alabama residence. It’s my place of observation, reflection, and discovery. I journeyed there with no particular purpose in mind beyond inhaling Nature’s spring elixir. I’ll publish a future Post offering a wider taste of what I experienced. For this Brief-Form Post I restrict my focus and observations to the glory of a few special spring wildflowers that greeted me.
Spring Wildflower Menagerie
The forest canopy remains nearly wide open during the second week of March, drawing me to her this time of year. The canopy is awakening even as the spring ephemeral ground vegetation is already wide awake, with the spring sun kissing the forest floor full-lipped. Sweet Betsy trillium are in full flower, a delight I will never tire of seeing each spring, whether one or dozens lie ahead.
John Muir recognized that Nature’s beauty, magic, wonder, and awe touch us deeply:
The trees wave and the flowers bloom in our bodies as well as our souls.
Woodland phlox (right) and bulbous cress revel in the seasonal forest floor sunlight. They’ll be long gone after the canopy closes. Their seasonal life-window closes before the frenzied hordes of mosquitoes greet me when I return during the early summer.
Native deciduous mountain azalea is another of my lifetime favorites. It always sparks treasured memories of my three college-summer employment positions with the Maryland Forest Service in the central Appalachians. Some of my best memories involve work or recreation in forest ecosystems. I recall wise advisors who urged me, “Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.”
I’ve been blessed to do just that. Sure, I recall days when pressures and stress mounted, yet my positive recollections brighten the darker memories, driving shadows deep into crevices. Life is good when I can see red buckeye heavy with its spiked red blossoms, torches of crimson held high in the spring understory.
Other wildflowers greeted me. These few allstars will suffice.
I accept the challenge of distilling these Brief-Form Posts to a single distinct reflection, a task far more elusive than assembling a dozen pithy statements. Sometimes, I borrow a distinct reflection from the truly great minds of antiquity, for no matter how hard I try I am unable to best those whom I have followed and revered across my seven-plus decades. In this case, it is John Muir who captured the essence of Nature’s elixir 120 years ago:
- The trees wave and the flowers bloom in our bodies as well as our souls.
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