Friday, April 1, 2016

Ramble Report March 31 2016

Today's post was written by Dale Hoyt.

Twenty-eight Ramblers met in the classroom of the Conservatory/Visitor Center today to avoid the forecasted thunderstorms that never appeared. Linda Chafin presented an illustrated lecture: Spring Wildflowers of the Georgia Piedmont.

Today's reading: Bob Ambrose delivered another of his wonderful, seasonally appropriate poems:

Spring Before Leaf-Out
Athens, Georgia
February 29, 2016; revised March 31, 2016

Signs belie the still-bare branches
arching the hardwood forest with an airy weave.
Can you hear the hickory clear his throat?
Inside the shaggy bark, cells repair.

And pipes revive. Buds swell the tips of twigs.
High on a rough trunk, resurrection ferns go green.
Maples blush tawny red.
Spring seeps inside the trees.

My calendar shows a winter scene
with numbers tucked in ordered rows
but birds know better.
Did you catch the morning chatter?

Out of darkness, cardinals sing
and wrens respond with small bird bluster.
Can you hear the new tenor? The thicker weave?
Spring is in the daybreak song.

The dirt below us lives.
Can you sense the earthy weave?
A scattering of small flowers push white
through the brown litter blanket.

Here, the bloodroot. Here the liverleaf hepatica.
There, the hairy bittercress.
Golden ragwort bud purple beside a fungus-crusted log.
Spring comes first to humble lives.

It creeps in cold.
It calls you from your long torpor.
Will you kneel down by tiny flowers?
Will you tread lightly the altar of earth?

Today's route: We walked from the Arbor to classroom 2 of the Visitor Center where Linda had set up enough chairs for our large group.

Linda has kindly shared with us the text and photos of her presentation. It is available at this location.

After Linda's presentation I was asked to clarify the difference between stemmed and stemless violets. Without using formal botanical terms it simply means that the stalk holding the flower either has no leaves (stemless) or has leaves (stemmed). The common blue/purple violet that grows in your yard is a stemless violet. If you study the photos in Linda's presentation you will see the difference.

Afterward we enjoyed our usual beverage and conversation at Donderos'.

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