A brilliantly hued orange and black butterfly flittered past the window of my RV this morning just as I pulled the shade up.
My handy-dandy bug-identifier phone app tells me it’s a Milbert’s Tortoiseshell butterfly and they are commonly found in south-central Alaska in early spring. Hmm … “early spring” seems a relative term here. This year, mid-May qualifies. What do I know? The little winged harbinger of spring was bright and beautiful and started my day out just right.
My morning also started out with sunshine and mostly blue skies! I was able to go outside wearing only a sweatshirt against the 7:30 am crispness.
Admittedly, our foliage has much to be desired right now, still painted broadly by an overall brown and tan brush, in a sodden, dead-leaf patterned landscape. Evergreen spruce trees add the only much-appreciated greenery to the scene.
My morning walk with Ronni offered up plenty of residual snow banks to romp across, but thankfully, they are rapidly receding.
It wasn’t until I was well down the driveway that a touch of unexpected color, partially buried in dead leaves, caught my eye.
Could it be? Was that … gasp … green?
Yes, it is! Only an inch or two high thus far, and struggling to push up past the winter blanket of dead leaves, I’m thrilled to discover the first emergent green leaves of a clump of tiny but hardy, low growing Star flower. These itsy-bitsy white-flowering plants flourish close to the ground in damp areas along edges of gravel driveways and walking paths, enjoying some sunlight, but also the protection of slightly taller shrubbery to shade them from too much direct sun.
Now knowing what to look for; on closer inspection, and after brushing away a few more dead leaves, I soon found the dark purple-mauve (soon to be green) of dwarf dogwood hugging the forest floor. These dense, spreading shrubs will grow knee-high by mid-summer.
A bit further down the driveway, I located barely unfurled starts of wild-growing raspberry plants, tiny reddish buds of new growth on otherwise dead-looking wild rose bushes and the first small, plump leaves of wild red currents.
Spring IS finally beginning to burst forth from its protective cover. These brave newcomers will, in no time at all, take over the forest floor, transforming the dull browns of “Spring is coming” to the vibrant green of “Spring is here”!
Hopefully, the trees in my yard will be quick to follow suit.
Currently, the red haze of leaf buds and new growth are giving a soft, slightly out of focus fuzziness to the previously bare-limbed trees.
I’m betting, by the end of the week, that red haze will be more of a pale, wispy green as leaves begin to open their fragile hearts towards the ever strengthening sun.
I do believe our long-awaited Spring is finally upon us.
One thought on “Could it Really Be Spring?”
Oh how precious that first gold-ish green is! Our eyes long for that color, don’t they?