Faith sometimes wane during the grey days of winter. If springtime seems soooooooo long ago, I offer this image from 2016 to stir your thoughts. The Iris‘ violet flower takes backstage to its crisp green new leaves. Look closely to the flower’s petal on the far right and you’ll spot a newly emerged springtime grasshopper. The background echos the green hues with greening trees and a green tinge to the South Pond in Lincoln Park, Chicago.
Bearded Iris brings promise of warmer days along South Pond in Lincoln Pond, Chicago. Copyright 2016, Pamela Breitberg
Time is evidenced in this image showing that spring has been progressing rapidly. The Iris bloom appears to be one of the last of this season; the other blooms are dried and wilted. Iris is one of the first blooms after a long winter’s dormancy. Soon blooms will be displaced with prolific green progress.
Female Pine cone bud copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg
The metaphor for the last stage of life is often winter. Winter is a time of less energy when chilled temperatures, shorter days, plant dormancy or death, and animal migration and hibernation. Animals settle in for periods of longer rest or become “snow birds” literally migrating to warmer climates. Annual plants literally die. Perennial plants and deciduous trees have less energy, so quit their work and retire. There are some, like some people, that seem have eternal energy, determined to thrive throughout the harsh winter months.
“Green” is the most obvious sign of an active winter species. Buds, the plant’s newborns, do not always wait for spring’s warmer days and more colorful settings. The evergreen White Pine hosts young buds during winter months. These youthful outgrowths are surviving sub-zero temperatures while blanketed by dense snow, which does indeed give shelter species from the arctic air.
Lichen in snow copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg
Grey days, the end of winter. No sign of spring’s leafy green, a cherished sign of hope. This resilient lichen will have to do as nature’s salute to St. Patrick; Happy St. Patrick’s Day.