I awoke this morning to a stunningly beautiful blanket of snow on every branch, bud, and blade surrounding the house. What remains after the melt is mud, grass greening up even though it never got mowed in the fall, a lot of brown twigs, and a few spring flowers breaking the ground that can be identified by the type of leaves they push up first. Yes, these are my favorite flowers, tulips and daffodils.
Not driving to our family’s Easter gathering yesterday allowed me to look out the window at the stick trees along the road, with the occasional nest not seen on our last trip down the road. All the fallen trees were visible. I saw an eagle in flight, and a few buzzards, as well as birds sitting on branches. Our Pittsburgh celebrity eagle parents, have one hatch-ling.
Nature is messy, I thought. Hollowed out logs, trees with holes, a bramble of twigs here and there. I remembered hearing about a word to describe the appreciation of the imperfect. A Japanese term Wabi Sabi expresses an appreciation for the beauty of the natural simple things as well as thee beauty of age and wear. The logs, and brambles provide shelter for a variety of animals.
My Dad would tend the woods behind his home. He kept a place back in the woods for fall leaves raked from his lawn. It took a few years, but those leaves decayed into a rich soil amendment for his gardens. Fallen logs were moved off the walking paths, and stray sticks would become walking sticks, and a special stick maybe kept for multiple walks throughout the spring and summer.
Birds and animals of all kinds were welcome to make their homes in the woods, but Dad had a running feud with a groundhog that wanted to make his home under the shed. Dad worked to make the chosen home-site unappealing so the groundhog would retreat to the woods. I’m not sure how successful Dad was.
When the ground is dry, I will enjoy walking woodland paths, getting a close up view of plants and flowers, bugs, mosses, and fungi. With luck, I might even get to see some larger wildlife, a woodpecker, owl, or deer.
Don’t let the snow fool you. It is April and spring is here. Enjoy every bit of the spring, and the messiness of the woods, because soon we will be complaining about how hot and humid it is, and the woods will be a refreshing retreat.