Last Glimpses of Spring

It already looks more like summer than spring around here…so before they’re completely outdated, here is a group of images of spring in the Pacific Northwest. Lean back, put up your feet, and immerse yourself in fleeting beauty.


















Dead my old fine hopes

and dry my dreaming

but still…

iris, blue each spring

Haiku by Shushiri






































Spring in the Pacific Northwest is a drawn out process. It begins early, since we have little frost and no lasting snow at lower elevations. The season extends well into late May because we stay fairly cool and moist. (In fact, the received wisdom here is that summer doesn’t start until after July 4th).

This year spring was particularly cool and wet. Then a spate of warm, dry air arrived and stalled, bringing pleasant weather the last few weeks. I like the way a long spring slows the pace of growth, it gives me time to enjoy it all. The question is, do lingering springs make up for our long, dreary, gray winters? Well, possibly.

These photographs record spring scenes in wild and tame places, from a neglected field and pond on the side of a road, to well-manicured public gardens. In between is the Federation Forest, a slice of old growth woods that feels untamed, even primordial. It wouldn’t be here though, without the foresight of the Washington branch of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. Back in the 1920’s, when logging threatened the last vestiges of old growth in our beautiful forests, local GFWC women fulfilled their mission of community improvement by working with the state legislature to set aside a tract of timber land for public enjoyment. Unfortunately, wind, fire, nearby logging and roadwork all took a heavy toll on the tall trees, and by the late 1930’s the land was no longer the peaceful forest it had been.  The women were undeterred. They located another, larger tract of forest with old growth trees that was better protected. Today Federation Forest is 600 acres of magical, mossy woods with miles of trails meandering alongside the White River, at the foot of Mount Rainier.

The 5th photo (a path and logs), the forest floor photo after it, the 12th photo (False Solomon’s Seal leaves) and the final two were taken on a mid-May walk in Federation Forest.

That duckling is a Wood duck, a denizen of wooded swamps. We’re privileged to have these extraordinarily beautiful ducks living year-round at a park in our town. Their prefer nesting sites are in holes in trees or nesting boxes elevated above the water. When the time comes, the young get pushed out, landing with what can only be a traumatic splash. This little guy appears to be none the worse for the experience. I’m sorry to see spring disappear, but like the Wood duck, I must move on!





    • Thank you Jo – the white flower is another tree – it’s a Dogwood. I’m sure you know them, this is just a closer angle. I was happy with that Magnolia shot – glad you like it.

  1. Beautiful photos, Lynn :-). Thanks for naming the False Solomon’s Seal. I’ve been seeing them in the forest here. I find the different shapes and tonal varieties in your second black and white photo lovely and surprising. And I love the way you captured the magnolias and the forest floor; they bring back nice memories.

    • It’s kind of a confusing group – I think this one is actually Star Solomon’s Seal – Smilacina stellata. There’s a very similar plant, Smilacina racemosa, aka Maianthemum racemosum (aargh!). There are a bunch of “regular” Solomon’s Seals – Polygonatum biflorum and others. Their flowers hang along, but below the stem, instead of at the end of it. Then there are the Fairybells and Twisted Stalks (Disporums) whcih are slightly different again. I like the simplicity of all of them – they are always very handsome in the forest, aren’t they? Not sure with the black and white if you mean the complex scene with flowers and a tree trunk or the drape-y Hakone leaves & moss – not sure you’re counting the sepia above. Anyway, I normally use Silver efex pro but I think I used a setting in LR for the one with flowers (4th from bottom). I was pleased too, with the Magnolias and the forest floor, two subjects I return to often. Thank you!

  2. We were inundated with rain this spring, and I can’t say I’m a fan. But then again, our landscape is quite different from yours! Love that picture with the ominous sky, as well as the sepia-toned macro shot.

    • The rain in NYC is very different so I don’t blame you. It gets in the way of functioning more! 😉 Here, it’s typically a bit of drizzle, a mist, a little rain, then a little more drizzle. No downpours like you get, few major soakers. But then you go for the dark sky photograph – that one is just what it looks like here, much of the time! Funny. (Until the sun comes out. And winter, without the dramatic changes that the east coast gets, can be very tedious). Thank you!

  3. So glad you shared these. You captured our long, wet spring very well. So refreshing, and yet turbulent, just like it really was. Still waiting for summer to kick in. I’ll be at an outdoor festival in Maple Valley selling books with my author’s group this weekend…freezing my booty off! 🙂

    • 🙂 To be more accurate I would have had to include many more dark, cloudy photos, don’t you think? But it does feel pretty summery to me, mainly because everything is leafed out. Too bad the temps plunged for the weekend but maybe you’ll get a better crowd? Maybe everyone won’t be off to the woods? Good luck with it!

      • Actually the weather was perfect-not to hot but reasonably sunny and dry almost the whole time. Good turnout, and reasonable book sales. It was fun!

  4. Lovely pictures, as always. I especially like the phrase “tame places”, and the 2nd and 3rd images, and the first of the mono ones, a fern I think, against a dark background. Haha! and don’t you worry about your spring and summer, here in the UK we are back to gales and rain, with weather forecasters describing it as “autumnal”! 🙂

    • The 2nd & 3rs are the same tree, at a “tame place” in early spring, and as you see, I blew it all out a bit to emphasize the bright simplicity of early spring. Yes, a fern, the most common one here, so I have many photographs of it, but there are always more to do. Are the gales and rain you’re having connected to the election, I wonder? 😉

      • Haha!, yes the gales and rain may well be connected to what may be termed The Dreadful Election Mess – we live in even greater uncertainty now. 😦

    • You’re right, but I admit to regret about spring falling away. Summer is wonderful, fall has its pleasures, winter – not so great around here. I guess that makes us work harder to see beauty, and that’s worthwhile.
      I can cheat a little here, and go up in elevation to get more spring – I’ll be doing that! 😉

    • One of the pleasures of being in the west is trying to identify different lupines – it turns out there are a lot of them! But like I mentioned before, they’re not so easy to capture effectively. I remain very impressed by what you did with yours!

  5. Once again, Lynn, your photos are fabulous and capture the mood of the lingering spring. I adore that haiku, which I’m lucky to be able to contemplate and absorb from Japan, the land of Zen. The details such as the raindrops, the dragonfly, the tiny buds, your macros and black and white shots, are all wonderfully atmospheric. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • I’m so glad you mentioned the haiku. I went looking online for something relating to spring. You know seasonal haikus are common enough, but most of them didn’t do it for me. That one, however, is golden, I thought. I’m glad you enjoyed – and thanks for your thoughts, as always!

  6. I’m delighted by the black an white photo with strawberries and other small plants, it is so full of charming details! Thank you for this beautiful synopsis of spring.

    • That’s one of those images that often doesn’t translate well once you see it on the screen, but luckily the software did it justice with very few tweaks, and the black and white conversion portrayed what I was seeing. Thank you for commenting, Ule, I appreciate hearing from you.

  7. An utterly beautiful collection, Lynn. I have to wonder whether retirement has something to do with it. The fourth one from the bottom is astounding in its range of tones. Love the point of view in the second one from the bottom. Other favorites: 4, 12, 13, 22, and 24. (But I sort of hate choosing.)

    • 🙂 Yes, it helps to have more time, that’s for sure. See my comment to Ule, above, re the 4th from the bottom.
      #’2 and 13 seem similar in a way (certainly #13 does) to your work.
      #22 & 24 – you know, I just love leaves, and I continue to find so much to appreciate in the same kinds of leaves. Sword ferns are ubiquitous here, and Hakone grass (the drapey one in black and white) is very common in gardens. But I never tire of those plants! Like certain bacteria…

  8. Love your distillation of a PNW spring. This one has been super special, not only coming after a weepy rain season that went on way past its norm, but also for the abundance of green and flowery things bursting at the seams as a result. You capture it so beautifully. My favorite (for reasons I can’t explain) is the 2nd after the damsel fly… a myriad of sweet little white fairy flowers. But it’s so hard to choose. They all have their endearing qualities.

    • Yes, it’s been good. I guess I’d be really frustrated if I were still working more than full time and couldn’t get out much. I’m looking forward to another quick trip to the eastern half of the state tomorrow – just over the mountains. We hope to find more wildflowers (but of course very different ones), and maybe some birds that we don’t see on this side. That photo you mention is from an absolutely stunning garden/nursery with brilliant plantings for spring, over on the Olympic Peninsula (Heronswood). Thanks as always, Gunta, for your thoughts.

    • Well, I think this one is actually Star Solomon’s Seal – Smilacina stellata. There’s a very similar plant, Smilacina racemosa, aka Maianthemum racemosum (aargh!). There are a bunch of “regular” Solomon’s Seals – Polygonatum biflorum and others. Their flowers hang along, but below the stem, not at the end of it. Thank you!

  9. My favorites are the bud cluster in the center of the cream petals, and the rain-soaked road. They’re just lovely. The third one down reminds me of my favorite aunt’s house. It looks remarkably like one of her houseplants against her sewing room wallpaper. Life imitates art, in a quite unusual way! I enjoyed seeing the lupines, too — like our bluebonnets, a recognizable sign of a spring that’s clearly in the rear-view mirror now.

    • The one that reminded you of your aunt’s house is decidedly more graphic than what I typically do, and I’m thinking I should play around with that style more. Yes, spring’s in the rear view mirror now, and I hope it doesn’t get too hot too soon.

  10. i’m sad to see spring go too Lynn…these are all so fine and i love the details and patterns…and those greens…we’ll have rain today to make it more lush…compose a beautiful day ~ smiles hedy 🙂

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