Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Sense of Freedom

May 28, 2013
Bog Meadow, Saratoga Springs, NY

I well remember
with what a sense of freedom and spirit of adventure
I used to take my way across the fields with my pail ...
toward some distant hill or swamp,
when dismissed for all day,
and I would not now exchange such an expansion of my being
for all the learning in the world. …
I found myself in a schoolroom
where I could not fail to see and hear
things worth seeing and hearing –
where I could not help getting any lesson –
for my lesson came to me.
     HDT essay Huckle-berrying

Now my vacation begins in earnest.
The reason I have chosen these particular days, was to be free during the visit of our friend Andrew from Ohio.  He is a botanist from Ohio who visited Jackie last July.
I was able to accompany them on several field trips, but could only go along in the mornings, due to my work schedule.
This year, I plan to stay out all day with them !

Jackie has consulted with Andrew to see what sort of plants he is hoping to see this time around.  She’s enlisted the help of some botanical friends who will share their knowledge of where many of the plants on Andrew’s list can be found.

He is driving twelve hours to get here.
We are looking forward to seeing our friend again.

Andrew’s special love is orchids, and here in upstate New York we are blessed with several that are threatened or completely extinct in Ohio.
It turns out that many other plants are no longer found there, either.

I lost count of how many times he said 
“We don’t have THIS in Ohio !”
-- this usually exclaimed while sinking to his knees, to gaze in wonder at a particular specimen.
If anything, Andrew’s visits have made me appreciate our region’s botanical abundance.
It was just as Thoreau said: “my lesson came to me.”

DAY ONE – morning:
To begin with, we went to an ordinary, popular walking-trail, only minutes from downtown Saratoga Springs.
It’s a reclaimed railroad bed that runs along some wetlands. 

Never underestimate the treasures to be found in these little pocket-parks !

                                                                            Wild Geranium

Thanks to Jackie’s scouting, within minutes,
we found several items on Andrew’s quest-list.

Water-avens.  Nodding trillium (still in bloom!) And many other delights.
The shade played havoc with my little handheld camera, but you can still get an idea of the lush landscape here.
Andrew uses a more professional approach, and I can't wait to see his photos.

                                Clintonia in bloom

                                                      Goodyera pubescens


                                                Northern water snake

I do believe that boy is charmed – Nature rewards his faithfulness.
As we walked, we heard the loud cry of the Pileated Woodpecker.
Andrew casually remarked that he’d never been able to get a photo of one.
No sooner had he uttered the words, when the Woodpecker swooped across the path, and perched on the side of a standing snag.
Andrew had his camera ready.

So did I ...

Well, you just have to stop and be thankful when gifts like this come your way -
and this was just the beginning of our days together.

[To be continued....]

1 comment:

  1. What a great start to your chronicle! I am SO glad you were free to spend all day every day with us, and I can't wait to see more of your photos. I had forgotten about the woodpecker. We sure had some amazing strokes of luck.