Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Little Flower

One plant has bloomed quietly for weeks at the darkest time of the year. Its first pure white flower, shyly turned away from the sun and angling downward, appeared just before Christmas. It bloomed patiently through the frigid cold of early January. Even now, it has one bud waiting to open.

This little plant is Helleborus niger, or Christmas rose, a relative of the more common Lenten rose. If it bloomed amid the profusion of spring or early summer, I probably would not much notice the little flower. But in January it is a reminder that the garden is still alive and a testament to the variety of life.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Winter Walks

Winter walks bring subtle joys. Today, my first ever sighting of a pileated woodpecker, crested head bobbing rhythmically as it knocked at a beech tree in the woods near Bolin Creek.

Tree trunks dominate the January woods, with nothing green except for scattered patches of Christmas ferns. I couldn’t resist embracing a giant beech next to the creek. My arms reached just halfway around it.

I am grateful for the patches of woods that remain in the Chapel Hill area for woodpeckers and people to enjoy.