I finally took this Sunday to wake up early, 5:30am, walk down to the river just by my house and see the Virginia bluebells in the predawn hour. They’ve been blooming for the past week, and stop me in my tracks every day I walk near them. When I go for woodland walks in the spring, I’m reminded of how alive with magical energy I always felt when I was a child playing in the woods. Every part of the spring woods felt ethereal, and spending time in spaces like this fueled my imagination and creativity. I feel endlessly lucky to have been a woods kid. To not even have the option of screens growing up was such a gift to my 90’s childhood. I use the woods as my soul reprieve still.
I go for woodland walks every day. In my backyard there are lush Appalachian woods, covered under snow in the winter, and blooming with Virginia bluebells in early spring. I’ve been eager to capture these Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) in the predawn morning light since the beginning of spring. They bloom here in the rich woods by the river in the first few weeks of spring, and are every day an invitation to stop and stay a while, and admire them while they’re here…which isn’t very long. Within a few weeks, they disappear. Left are the mayapples, soon to have little underside blooms for the turtles to feast on through the spring, and the creek to feed the river, soon to be warm enough for early morning and late evening swims…
Like many, I’ve spent the majority of the past year mostly alone. Having recently moved into my little cottage that took me a year to build, having this year to nest and settle into the incredible beauty of this space has been a quarantine dream. I’ve never minded being alone. Most of my life I’ve preferred it, but I do crave my deeply rooted friendship company and visits with my family. I never feel lonely here though. It may be the constant companionship of my dog. Or it may be all the time I spend outside, feeling so connected and absorbed in the embrace of nature. Spending time out here alone is predictably comforting. It teaches me to go more slowly and notice every single new thing that wasn’t there yesterday. And not miss too much the beauty that just vanished because I swooned over it as much as I could while it was here. Today is one of those days, spent outside with the bluebells, communing with the mayapples and resting by the creek. I hope each of you, in whatever season you’re experiencing in the world, have the time and space to connect with nature near you and bring it into your home and soul, too.
Read More: October in the Blue Ridge
Are you curious to learn how to identify and forage the herbs and flowers near you? Explore the Foraging Course from The Herbal Academy to get started on your botanical adventures in your own backyard.