My time last year on Long Island, visiting the North and South Shores, gave me a chance to be with the ocean and its changing colors. Walking the shore line and traveling the ferry through sun and storm, watching a super moon take flight into the night sky, gave new meaning to “fifty shades of gray”.
Today I explore the CT forests and meadows. A path covered in browns, rich siennas and umbers of fallen pine needles, forms a welcoming carpet through spruces and stream. Water moves along following its path, its nature, no excuses. The wind chimes through the leaves in its very special way, creating a soft sound, a rustling I find soothing.
Sunbeams weave their way between leaves and limbs casting shadows and highlights. Bright green ferns are open and sway. Dark evergreen trees stand tall and silent as birds sing and flit among the branches. Water flows and plays its tune as it moves over rocks and around bends coloring the stream-beds greenish browns. Rocks, small and smooth, form a carpet nearby. Branches twist and hang like picture frames for this woodland scene as if a palette for the fifty shades of green of summer. Summertime greens are like no other. Some of the yellows and mauves of spring have faded and the forest leaves and needles have their own color, their own hue.
As I walk through these woods, I come into a meadow where I meet some old friends.
Milkweed, with flowers still showing their pink, like faded 19th century wallpaper, stand tall and ready for monarch larvae. They cast a fragrance also reminiscent of old sachets.
Clovers, dainty white and sweet flowers, create a mass of sweet blooms like a prayer rug. These flowers provide a feast for their guests, the bees. Bedstraws create a lovely lacy border, always one of my favorite meadow plants. Delicate tiny blossoms skirt the edges, fill in spaces and add a soft texture to the meadow land greens.
I nibble on wild black raspberries as they begin to ripen, their silver under leaves hidden from site. Wild grapes with leaves like mini umbrellas, put out their runners ever eager to cover shrubs and neighborhood plants and grass. They grow and reach out from their very tips wrapping tendrils everywhere before their fruit ripens.
Second year mulleins with tall stalks, proudly display their yellow blossoms.
Silver velvet leaves grace straight stems, strong, for birds will eat the flowers and drink of their nectar.
There’s more, always more to discover on each walk. Meadow lands support so much wildlife. Birds alone feed their young, help with pests. Bugs thrive and most are beneficial and if not the meadow’s diversity will help maintain a balance so most species thrive.
Beautiful artichokes reach for the sun and sky towering over most of a meadow. Their yellow discs are part of summer’s perfection.
I encourage you to take a walk today. Even sidewalks have plant and gifts, stories to weave but for the looking. For more information on the value of meadows and how to create your own, check out: At the Garden’s Gate: go to judithdreyer.com for order information.
Judith Dreyer, MS, BSN, Writer, Speaker, Holistic Health Consultant and Workshop Presenter, Master Gardener.
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