Some time ago an Instagram follower and friend said that she’d love to go on a walk with my family because we see so many interesting things. That was such a compliment to me and a lovely sentiment. As I was thinking about how fun it would be to go on walks with her and with you, I had an idea – We may not be able to meet in person but we can share our walks here. There are SO many amazing things to notice in nature and sharing with others is a wonderful way to enhance our experiences and strengthen our connections with nature and each other.
Are you ready to walk together? Today we visit Evergreen Cemetery…
We don’t often have an agenda when we head out for a walk but today my son wanted to visit this particular location to try to find a rare bird that had been spotted a few days before. When we arrived, my dad, youngest daughter and I spread a blanket and sat to eat lunch. My son took off birding. As I sat I began to take notice of the nature immediately nearby – the pink cones of a large Norway spruce, a clump of pussytoes just starting to bloom, a mallard couple cautiously checking us out, a large patch of Self-heal at the base of a tree. I grabbed my camera and explored these sights a little. Then it was time to join my son.
As we walked along a wooded trail my dad saw a flash of red and we all gathered for a look. My son recognized the call and then we all saw it – a Scarlet Tanager! Aren’t they beautiful? I think it was just as curious about us as we were of it. It flew closer and perched long enough for us to get a few photos. It then flew down to a small stream to bathe. As we stood and scanned the trees my daughter noticed a fairly large hornet nest – something we don’t come across very often. We also began to notice other birds, like the Blue-headed Vireo pictured above, and found this sweet cup nest in a maple tree.
As we moved leisurely around the pond, senses now more alert, other things began to catch our attention. We noticed frogs along the water’s edge holding perfectly still, maybe hoping we wouldn’t see them. There were painted turtles gathered on a fallen tree to soak up any ray of sunshine that managed to break through the clouds and large snapping turtles thrashing about. At first we thought they were fighting but we quickly figured it out. It is spring after all and soon there will be a clutch of eggs. We also spotted a Solitary Sandpiper walking in the water searching for food.
The path passes through a wooded area where there were many more birds to spot and plants that have recently emerged. The most common spring plants we see right now in this type of habitat are field horsetails (Equisetum arvense), Canada Mayflower (Maianthemum canadense) and Trout Lilies (Erythronium americanum). Trout Lilies do not produce flowers for the first 7-10 years of its life and spread primarily by underground runners from parent bulbs. Because it takes so long to produce large colonies, you know when you come across one that they are quite old. Several hundred years old. As I stood admiring this large colony blanketing the floor of the woods I tried to image who else may have passed this way and seen the same sight. The cemetery was constructed in 1854 and there are many civil war veterans buried here. Would visiting loved ones 150 years ago have noticed? Who passed this way before the cemetery was built? Would there have been anyone harvesting the bulbs to dry for winter sustenance? To consider the history that this area has witnessed was incredible.
So you see, the things we notice when we are outside are not things out of the ordinary. They are things that we are surrounded by all the time. My children and I have simply developed a habit of noticing nature which involves curiosity, enthusiasm, a sense of awe and wonder, and a focusing of attention. And now I’m so happy to be sharing our nature walks with you. After all, “A joy shared is a joy doubled”. Thanks for joining us! See you next Wednesday for another walk.
Would you like to share some sights and experiences from one of your walks? If you are interested in having a featured ‘Wednesday Walks’ post, let’s chat!