The plugs of sweet woodruff that I moved to the shady side yard have acclimated themselves nicely, and are spreading out toward the little sunny patch where I have my butterfly garden. Infant bee balm hangs on for the ride.
I was surprised by the pretty little plant below. I spotted it last year at our local reservoir. I've been calling it wintergreen for my entire life. I looked it up in my Peterson Field Guide to Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants and Herbs, and found that it's actually called Partridgeberry, or Squaw Vine. A very pretty plant. I brought home a small sample to photograph, because I didn't have my camera with me at the reservoir. Silly me.
The BIG find of the day was this funny, gelatinous fungus I found while following a deer path. Isn't it dramatic? It's called, appropriately enough, "Orange Jelly", and likes conifers. I found that in Bill Russell's Field Guide to Wild Mushrooms of Pennsylvania and the Mid Atlantic. There were several patches of it there. It's pretty-much useless for human consumption, but I found it interesting to look at, and to poke gently with my finger. The white pine branches all around it (which had fallen in yesterday's wind storm) however, smelled wonderful, and do have traditional medicinal uses. You can look them up in Peterson's as well.
I find my walks in the woods to be so interesting and grounding; it's one of the times that I feel at my most immediate (a "Be Here Now" moment, for those of you who remember such things). I'm gong to try to make more time for them. They heal my winter-weary soul. I found myself laughing with the water, and thanking the skunk cabbage blossoms for being the first vegetable drama of the spring (our goat kids were the first animal drama). There can't be a more optimistic time of year. Is it any wonder we have our spring holidays now? I know I want to celebrate; celebrate new beginnings, the passage from dark into light, new birth, fecundity. Welcome, warm weather! Welcome, spring!