Unlike Thoreau, I could not be removed from the ruckus of civilization. No, I could escape for an hour or two at the most, taking advantage of an unexpected return of warm weather to spend some time in a tidal salt marsh. I write this to return to a place where the most regular sounds are the rustle and whisper of the dry reeds and grasses in the late afternoon breeze.

 

And then birds. Circling, the gulls cry. In this slant of light their white sides glow golden before they plunge out of sight to settle in a hidden channel of water flowing through the high grass of the meadows. Unseen, a sparrow chips at the afternoon.  A loud croak announces the presence of a nearby great blue heron, disturbed. Snow geese will winter here and add their… More…

Living in the Mid-Atlantic states gives me an advantage when I look for seasonal bloom or fruit.  I can turn back calendar pages or flip them forward simply by driving a couple hours north or south.  Each year I try to spot bluets in the spring and migrating monarch butterflies at summer’s last breath.

 

Bluets are also known as Quaker Ladies (Houstonia caerulea) because they’re not showy; they’re low-growing, small flowers, pale blue to white with a yellow center.  Sometimes from a distance, it’s as though a shard of pale sky or a shred of cloud has settled on the grass.

My friend Naomi showed me a few scattered bluets one July in Worthington, Massachusetts. Their delicacy charmed me. The next spring I was delighted when I discovered them growing in the grass at a wildflower preserve not… More…