A few days ago, on an evening hike in the woods behind my Vermont home, the first signs of floral life poked through the damp carpet of last falls' leaves. My hike was accompanied by the songs and calls of a wood thrush, a pileated woodpecker, a white-throated sparrow, robins and countless chickadees. I also spotted my first ovenbird of the spring, hopping from branch to branch in a beech tree to get a closer look at me. A decent hike for a damp, gray April evening. I went back the next morning to photograph all the signs of life I could.
Some of the flowers I saw were a bit hard to ID. The dark purple flower (left) left me stumped. After consulting with several friends, we figured out it was blue cohosh, which looks quite different as it matures -- mostly leafy green with blue berries. And the final photo below I immediately ID'd as trillium, but then later questioned if the three leaves could be those of a jack-in-the-pulpit. Again, after some chatting with friends, we decided it was trillium. In a week or so, I'll know for sure.
For other forest-loving people like me, it's hard not to feel ridiculously excited at seeing these flora and fauna return each year. My cynical side normally cringes when I see the popular slogan, "Life is good," on a t-shirt or on the bumper of a passing car, but when it's springtime in Vermont, life is seriously good.
Photos by Meghan Oliver. From top down: trout lily; blue cohosh; fiddlehead fern; coltsfoot; trillium and another photo of trout lily. Click on images for a larger view.