Aly may be away at college, but she’s still finding time to explore and enjoy the natural world around her. Below is an excerpt from a recent email (bracketed explanations are mine):
“I wish I’d had the camera today. We got out of class early, so I went to my favorite nettle patch to see if there were any signs of life yet.
It was a bright sunny day, not more than 35°, with little birds turning the fallen leaves over. I saw a large woodpecker—the ones here seem to be twice the size of ours—hanging upside down from a branch to tap at the trunk of a large maple.
There were rather impressive frost heaves all around, untouched by the sun even though it was the hottest part of the day. There’s also a mold/fungus that appears in spring that looks like needles of frost, but reacts to a cautious stick-prodding more like fur would. It grows on fallen branches in muddy fields, apparently.
There are small nettle shoots appearing (I didn’t take any because I had nothing safe to carry them in, and they’d have wilted during fiber arts) small but a healthy, vibrant green with purple patterning. I found the beginnings of fiddleheads and devil’s club buds, too.
I found a sunny, dry(!) place on a stream bank and did a bit of music practice until my fingers got cold. (This took a surprising amount of time.) The sunshine and the signs of spring made me feel very happy and full to bursting with creative energy. I honestly think I could have had success with any craft on that stream bank today. As it was, I had my pennywhistle, so I played with that. [Aly’s current class includes a musical component. Everyone is required to play an instrument.] I managed to make some decent music on the spot. Nothing spectacular, but not as tortured as anything I’ve done previously to warm up. After a while the muscle memory I’ve built up over the past quarter and a half took over and I switched to songs we’ve been learning in class. (I had to look at my music after a bit, but I had parts of it down by memory.)
Overall, it felt really good to fool around for a bit and be outside while the weather was pleasant.”
I love this young woman!