So, jacket-clad, we headed into the ravine for our daily walk, missed yesterday in light of the downpour. Button and Riley feeling particularly frisky and us as well. Mind, it was windy, heavily overcast, but no threat of further rain, not until tomorrow evening. Our garden has already expressed its gratitude for yesterday's rain, with the magnolia opening its beautiful purple buds, promising to cover the tree with an excess of magnificent blossoms.
Down the first long hill into the ravine, toward the creek, swollen with rain and the last of winter's melt-off. Hardly any ice and snow left on the trails at all. Here and there the first of the trilliums lifting themselves out of the soil, not yet ready to bloom their crimson triangles. The Coltsfoots' yellow blooms are fast fading. Amazing, how swiftly the Poplars come into leaf.
Maples are dropping their little bright red florets, but their leaves have not yet begun to show. Robins run helter-skelter about the trails, looking for drowning earthworms, gasping for air above their tunnels. At our advance, they fly up to nearby tree branches and wait for us to leave. As we make our way forward they burst into song. As does the cardinal, later, on the opposite side of the ravine, trilling the sodden spring atmosphere.
Squirrels are rushing purposefully about. Taking time out occasionally to stand still, switch tails, and then once more take up their lunatic run-abouts, racing after one another. Mourning cloaks mount into the air in a coupling dance of graceful spirals. Two days ago, when the sun was full out, we'd seen the first of the season's garter snakes warming itself after our long winter, its body sleek and green-striped.
Willows are striding into full life. White and yellow birch, oak, black cherry, hornbeam, abide their time, not yet eager to thrust their leaves into the cool air, their branches still black and sere. Rivulets of water rush down from the highest points of the ravine into the creek and its tributaries, below. We step carefully around the puddles on the trail, nowhere near as water-logged as we'd anticipated.
Hawthorne and Apple trees are beginning shyly to assert their springtime cover. And now and again we see the first incomplete white blossoming mantle of Serviceberry; they'll make a brief, brilliant show in another few days. Hazelnut bushes are full of emerging leaves. Pendulous catkins are lengthening on birches, soon to leaf out as well.
Lilies-of-the-Valley have begun poking up, encircling tree trunks. Trout lilies are everywhere to be seen as mottled-green apparitions, but now and again there's the fluted yellow flower as well. Only one mass as yet of Foamflower leaves to be seen. Like the Jack-in-the-Pulpit, they're biding awhile, waiting for the perfect time to expose their tender flowers.