Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Spring Violets

Viola sororia, Common wild violet, "Confederate Violet" variety.
(Click picture for larger view)
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Surely as cometh the Winter, I know
There are Spring violets under the snow.
~ Robert Henry Newell, "Spring Violets Under the Snow"
Brown and black, the dead leaves and limbs that cover the bank of the drainage ditch behind our house. Here these ditches are common and all with ties to the bay; they may be filled with rapidly flowing water after a downpour or almost dry during drought. At night I hear geese honking as they fly low over the ditch and occasionally a lone mallard or pair of ducks will swim slowly downstream, stopping to waddle across the drier spans of mud. A large oak has fallen across the ditch forming a natural bridge. A few have tried to plant grass or flowers here but the chickweed, wild hibiscus, vinca and thistle along with the honeysuckle vines and Virginia creeper choke most of them out. Attempts at vegetable gardens are not met with success. There used to be muskrat living here but I haven't seen any in the last two years; yet something wild makes these screeching banshee noises and drives the dog nuts in the middle of the night.

I decided to explore the ditch, or at least to photograph the beautiful wisteria draped over the fence across the way. I saw the signs of spring everywhere. Trees that a few weeks ago were bare outlines of branches and twigs, now sport a pale green covering of small leaves. Marshy grasses grow with dots of yellow, purple and white wildflowers. The chickweed has exploded, a feeding ground for aphid and ladybug alike. Naturalized daffodils have come and gone and discarded iris bulbs have multiplied, now pale lavender blooms beyond the fence. Pink azalea made me pause to look and click my camera and then my eye moved down to the grass. Here a small flower lurked, almost buried; then I saw another and another. The common wild violet, usually a deep blue color, this one the "Confederate" variety, pale with purple highlights, a fitting inhabitant here. No snow here, but violets are still heralds of Spring.

Submission for Thursday Challenge topic "Spring". (end of post)

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