INKLING*

A month before the Spring equinox, this

here-now world

brightens, greens, expands.

Tentative birdsongs are more insistent. Scents elude me in

the cold morning air, save for woodsmoke wafting from

the neighbor’s chimney. Chores abandoned,

I poke along a narrow trail, alert

to the floods of tiny green shoots

that crowd the way. Wild honeysuckle vines sprout new leaves

and the sturdy stonecrop’s succulent leaves bulge

with winter rain. Wildflower, fern,

moss, lichen – they’re all jamming in

perfect harmony: a breathing, life-affirming

wildgarden.

Down below, blue-green seawater spreads

across the bay like a bright tablecloth set for no one

– except the Buffleheads, the Harbor seals, the

fish, and the insects threading erratic paths

above the water.

I sense the hush of a pregnant moment between winter and spring.

*

The lichens, the budding trees, the awakened birds

go on with their lives. No need to think about pauses,

no need to roll words through their brains

in a doomed attempt

to describe the beauty that

they are.

***

1. Tall Douglas firs grace the shores of the pass. At their feet, lush gardens of ferns, moss, lichens, and wildflowers bask in the always-moist environment.
2. The new leaves of Licorice fern (Polypodium glycyrrhiza) appeared last fall with the rain that arrived after our summer drought. All winter they’ve been green beacons of hope.
3. Ocean spray, or Ironwood (Holodiscus discolor) is unfolding its leaves now but the gracefully drooping, creamy white flower clusters won’t open until June.
4. Raindrops cling to a rootlet on the underside of a huge, downed Douglas fir tree.
5. Storm clouds break over Skagit Bay. The rain here falls as snow in the mountains, snow that will melt and nourish us here in the lowlands through the dry summer months.

*

6. Douglas firs cling precariously to rocks at Bowman Bay, last summer’s grasses continue their slow decline, and rushes are reflected in the calm water of Heart Lake.

*

7. Which plant is it? I’m not sure but the message is clear.
8. This is probably Pacific willow (Salix lucida ssp. lasiandra), a large, spreading shrub that likes wet areas like the lakeside where I photographed it.
9. Douglas firs (Pseudotsuga menziesii) cling to the rocks on the Lighthouse Point trail at Deception Pass State Park. A bright carpet of moss, grass, and wildflowers spreads underneath the trees.
10. A long-dead tree supports a colorful patchwork of lichens. They may not die back in winter like the wildflowers do, but their colors still convey the message of spring to my mind.

11. The diminutive Rattlesnake plantain’s leaves (Goodyera oblongifolia) have been hugging the ground for months. They look especially fresh these days. A tiny garden of golf tee-shaped lichens (Cladonia sp.), moss, a Douglas fir branch tip, and more lichens decorates a rock along a steep trail in a mature forest. Nearby, plump, green rosettes of Broadleaf stonecrop (Sedum spathulifolium) snuggle into the folds of a Peltigera lichen. More lichens and moss (maybe Common haircap moss – Polytrichum commune) surround them. The stonecrop will send up stalks of yellow flowers in May or June and the Rattlesnake plantain, (actually an orchid) will bloom in July.

*

12. Tightly curled leaves of Yellow pond lilies (Nuphar polysepala) will open soon in the shallow water of Little Cranberry Lake, where beavers are continually creating the kind of habitat this plant prefers.
13. Willows by the roadside, a glorious sight.
14. Here’s Little Cranberry Lake again. A single pair of wild Trumpeter swans (Cygnus buccinator) rest on a half-submerged log in deep shade. Soon they’ll head to Alaska or northwestern Canada to breed. They’ll be back late next year.

*

*inkling (n.)

c. 1400, apparently from the gerund of the Middle English verb inclen “utter in an undertone, hint at, hint” (mid-14c.), which is of unknown origin; perhaps it is related to Old English inca “doubt, suspicion, question, scruple.” However the earliest record of the word is as a nyngkiling; and The Middle English Compendium offers that this is not a misdivision of an inkling but rather suggests the word is a nasalized variant of nikking “a hint, slight indication,” gerundive of the Middle English verb nikken “to mark (a text) for correction” (mid-15c.), from nik (n.) “a notch, tally” (see nick (n.)).

From https://www.etymonline.com/word/inkling


61 comments

  1. Your inklings of restarting life reach all senses and, as always, brain is not neglected. Again, you find tender words, describing and caressing what you experience.
    After some rough stormy days in our region, it is good savoring your photos and and being reminded that spring will be coming soon.

    Liked by 5 people

    • This morning we woke up to snow on the ground, so you never know, do you? It’s only a little bit and the birds are still singing. Thank you, Ule, let’s raise our glasses and make a toast to all the senses! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Lynn,
    these are great photos ๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ‘
    Interesting the etymology of ‘inkling’. Quite a new word, late Middle Ages. We thought it would go back to the much older Old Norse.
    Wishing you a happy week
    The Fab Four of Cley
    ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • Word origins seem to bring surprises quite often and inkling is such a fun word. Maybe you can adjust the etymology a little and sneak some Old Norse in there. If anyone can do it, you can. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thank you, Klaus, have a great week.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Just unbelievably true and beautiful photographs. My favorites are the Pacific Willow (#8) and the drops on rootlets (#4).

    And this passage:

    Down below, blue-green seawater spreads
    across the bay like a bright tablecloth set for no one
    โ€“ except the Buffleheads, the Harbor seals, the
    fish, and the insects threading erratic paths
    above the water.
    I sense the hush of a pregnant moment between winter and spring.

    And the ending, so lovely to think that the beauty cannot stop to observe or describe itself.

    Inkling of Spring. We’re awaiting a snowstorm here today.

    Thank you for the etymonline digging, I loved it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Especially the “hint”, and the “undertone”, which makes me think of undergrowth and survival. The wildflowers and especially the Licorice Fern seem to be surviving beautifully as beacons of hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, I was surprised to see snow here, too, when I raised the blinds this morning. It’s just a little bit and I think the plants will manage but I’m not looking forward to below-freezing temps the next few days. Thank you so much for the thumbs up for the writing, something I often have doubts about. I do enjoy it though. And thanks for connecting the etymology to the images – lovely! That’s what it feels like right now – subtle undertones of coming pleasures.I appreciate your thoughts. Have a great week, Holly.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful. ๐ŸŒฑ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿƒ

    Primaveral potential.

    Poised.

    Waiting to manifest.

    โœจ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ•‰โ˜€๐ŸŒ™โš–๐Ÿช”๐Ÿ•Šโ™พ๐Ÿˆšโ˜ฏ๐ŸŒ๐Ÿฒ๐Ÿ™‹โ€โ™‚๏ธ

    Liked by 1 person

    • OK, primaveral, not primeval. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s a seasonal thing.
      Poised would be a good subject to consider for a post. I think it would be hard. Any ideas?
      Waiting would be easier. Well, maybe it would.
      And yes, they’re all here, poised, primaveral potential, waiting. I appreciate your comment. Have a good week!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Your lovely poem sets the stage for your wonderful photographs. The blue of the water in #1 is almost unbelievable, but I know you would never mess with natureโ€™s own beauty. Itโ€™s a nice relief to all the green and brown, even though the green and brown are perfectly fine the way they are. Iโ€™m so glad you took the time to see and photograph the rootlets with their raindrops. This is probably my favorite of the bunch. The arrangement of darks and lights is just right. When I saw #9, I so wanted to be thereโ€”what a sense of place! The roadside willows are spectacular in front of the muted colors of the background and with the sun shining through. The last photograph looks like something from Grimmโ€™s fairy tales. Gorgeous. Thanks for another look at your part of the world through your eyes, Lynn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That blue does look overly intense but I think it was close to what I saw. As you may know, when glaciers scrape rocks they grind them to a powdery substance that is sent with the melting glacier water down the river. And there it is, creating a greenish, milky cast to the water.
      It’s nice that you like the rootlet raindrops. Those rootballs are massive, very impressive when the tall trees fall. It’s good to hear that #9 conveys a sense of place – it’s a scene I’ve looked at many times but haven’t photographed successfully. I’m working on improving my landscape skills. ๐Ÿ˜‰
      Grimm’s Fairy Tales – perfect! Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I did not know that about glaciers. Is that why glaciers can be blue, too? I’d say #9 is good proof that you have already improved your landscape skills. (That’s not to say you shouldn’t keep going.) Maybe you will inspire me to work on my own. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        • I don’t think that’s why glaciers look blue but I don’t know.
          I know you use a zoom lens – Nikon makes great zooms, I think. I don’t like the zooms I’ve used that much, though they’re not bad. But I love the 60mm (120mm equivalent) prime I’ve been using for years, and I use it for maybe 50% or more of my photos. So I’m carrying a 17mm prime now, too, a nice fast lens, and forcing myself to look at the wider view more often, to switch out the lenses and get used to another format. Not really a wide-angle but it feels that way to me sometimes. I have a nice 12mm too but I haven’t been able to get used to that one yet. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (I need to take lessons from Harrie, who loves wide-angle views)
          Google says: “Glacier ice is blue because the red (long wavelengths) part of white light is absorbed by ice and the blue (short wavelengths) light is transmitted and scattered. The longer the path light travels in ice, the more blue it appears.”
          And I forgot the algae part of the explanation for glacier-water:
          ‘Sediments or rock flour are responsible for the blue color seen on most glacial lakes. Rock flour is very light. They are often suspended in water column most of the time and support the most population of algae, making the water to appear green.
          I guess that holds here, too. Not sure.
          Oh damn – I was wrong about our water being affected by the glaciers. I just read that the blue-green color here is due to phytoplankton in it. Very righ water. Thanks for making me look and learn, Linda!

          Liked by 2 people

  6. I don’t know what the most appropriate word will be for the energy that surrounds these images. In fact, I didn’t even know the English word that gives title to the post… which google translates as “presentiment”, something like “pre-felling”..
    It is evident that the “explosion” of energy is already quite active there, due to the high humidity and rains.
    Here, spring details are delayed by lack of water and deep drought. Really sad…
    I think this post is a nice “peek at spring!”๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Inkling is an odd word. I like the sound of is and the meaning is very close to what google told you. But you see more of an explosion of energy, which is nice. You’re right, abundant moisture and temperatures that are not often below freezing allow some plants here to grow all year and others to sprout earlier than they would in a colder, drier place.
      I’m so sorry to hear about your drought. I didn’t realize that was a problem now in Portugal. The American west also has a deep drought – worse in some places, not as bad here but even here, the last several years are drier than normal. I don’t have to tell you what the problem is, you are well aware of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Your poem is perfectly, exactly, laser-precisely right for this moment here at our roughly shared latitude. But the etymology for ‘”inkling” is the BEST! I knew the word, not its backstory. (And, um, darn nice photos too.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a great word, isn’t it? I’m glad you liked the post…thank you very much! I still always feel as though I’m struggling to get across what I’m seeing & feeling.
      Is it cold enough for you today? We woke up to, um, about -4 degrees C this morning. And snow on the ground yesterday and today, plus an ear-splitting pounding on the roof Sunday night that must have been hail or something, preceding the snow, which was very “graupel-y.” (Like that one?)

      Liked by 1 person

      • “graupel”! I had to look that one up, that is ‘way impressive, how/when did you learn that delicious bit of technical language? zero-ish here today, went walking and soon enough it was open-coat time

        Like

        • I don’t remember – it come up somewhere online, I think, and it’s such a great word, I actually (almost) remembered it. I was saying “groppel” in my head. But graupel is better. Open coat-ish at around zero, good for you. I cowered inside yesterday. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          Liked by 1 person

    • Nice! Could #5 look similar to something you might see in the Netherlands, near the sea? Maybe you don’t have those rounded, forested islands. Maybe you would have to go further north? Anyway, I’m glad it touches you. Thank you.

      Like

  8. No, not at all. Only in the North we have Isles; called de Waddeneilanden. But they are huge, with villages on them and lots of tourists. They are separated from the mainland by the Waddensea.. which is a tidal sea, that falls dry when it’s low tide, and than you can walk in the mud, if you fancy ‘Wadlopen’.. ๐Ÿ™ƒ Two of our Waddeneilanden are car-free. They are nice to visit, with lots of rough dune landscapes and large beaches on the Nortsea side. ๐Ÿ‘โœ‹

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right, this one is small. There are so many around here that many are uninhabited. If it’s the Waddensea then Waddeneilanden makes sense – even I can see that! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I used to vacation on an island in the US southeast with shallow seas around it. At very low tides you could walk out to a tiny piece of land (with no plants at all) called a spit. As kids, we were always afraid we might get caught out there by the rising tide. “Waldlopen” really sounds right. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s good that some islands have no cars…sounds very nice!

      Liked by 1 person

      • ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, we are very sensible and straight in our Dutch language… When we close down a sea with a dike, to turn it into a lake, we call the dike: The Closedown Dike.. (Afsluitdijk).. ๐Ÿ˜€ (By the way I made a late reply to your post Encountering the Subject, which you might have missed). Have fun today!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Only the first burb, eh? Hmmm, I’m thinking about that.
      Good to hear from you!!
      (Did you take any classes with Doug Crimp or Carter Ratcliffe? I was thinking about them today – both were good teachers, I thought, and pretty good people, too.)

      Like

  9. Love the word, inkling, and your poetry around this idea was a pleasure to read. I smiled at โ€œtheyโ€™re all jamming in perfect harmonyโ€. I got lost in your thoughtfully made photos – a great combination of close and far showing the emergence of a new season. A collection of Hope. โ˜บ๏ธ

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You seem to merge more and more with the country / landscape around you, your beautiful poem tells about it and of course your love for nature. Wonderful Lynn! Again a journey to etymology, nice! Inkling is a strange word, but it doesn’t sound so funny to me. Maybe it is too German-like ๐Ÿ˜‰ Unusual, yes. The inkling of spring… I liked especialy this part of your poem: The lichens, the budding trees, the awakened birds go on with their lives. no need to roll words through their brains in a doomed attempt to describe the beauty that they are. So true!
    What I like most of the pictures here are the raindrops on the roots! and the gallery of #10 / 11, the one with the mosses and lichen (surprise surprise ๐Ÿ˜‰ Rattlesnake plantain, what a nice name and the leaves are so beautiful. Of course I love the Cladonia, especially this kind. The picture is like a still life for me. It looks so colorful here ๐Ÿ™‚ The photos show the hope and promises of spring, of a new beginning. We can need that these days!
    (Graupel – you use that word in English too? And as it seems it has the same meaning this time ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • Graupel must be a German word. I don’t think it’s very well known here but when I heard it, I liked it. You clearly understand what I’m talking about. It’s nice to hear which part of the poem spoke to you, too. The raindrops on the roots, the lichens, the mosses, the leaves with their patterns – those are all very characteristic of this place. Very common sights. I haven’t been out this week – too busy with appointments and it’s been really cold, too. But I’ll get out again soon! I hope your weather has calmed down…let’s keep “merging more and more” with our surroundings. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      • Actually Graupel is a funny word! I must look for it. I wanted to follow your link about etymology, but didn’t do it so far. I fear it could be too complicated in English. But who knows. It is always interesting to get to the roots.
        The raindrops are really nice. When I think about it, it is a fascinating contrast of the big tree and the tender roots, right?
        Yes, the weather calmed down. From time to time there are strong squalls, but only for short periods. The weekend shall be cold and sunny! I wish you a good week! I try to calm myself down with what is happening in the east. Terrible!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m feeling bad for my German friends – it’s too close to home. Of course, there’s a lot of news about the conflict here but we are far away, we don’t depend on Russia for energy, and it’s not at our back door, bringing memories of other wars. Not in the same way. take care!

          Liked by 1 person

        • If I can add a note here… I’ve come across the word Graupel in my travels and Eric is familiar with it as well. We had a spell of hail and he called what remained on the ground ‘graupel”. I thought it was fairly common, though it could be based on the amount or sort of reading one does…?
          As for the state of the world. I may have been only 6 months old, but I was part of the exodus to the west just 78 years ago. My mind keeps thinking the turmoil must have been much like what we’re seeing now. As a blogging friend from Scotland put it: โ€œI think that the disturbing news from Ukraine has knocked a bit of the stuffing out of me.โ€ Thank heavens for this peaceful little corner of the internet to retreat to as needed.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Thank you Gunta, there are probably similarities between the situation from today and 78 years ago. How awful that it happens again and again, that people have to escape from war! And I agree, it is nice to find some relief here in the blog-universe, where so many people are friends over all kind of frontiers all over the world!

          Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you Gunta. Graupel was new to Joe and me but that doesn’t mean much. ๐Ÿ˜‰
          You have an interesting perspective on what’s happening in Europe now. It must have had a profound effect on your family, even if it wasn’t talked about much. Yes, we have a peaceful place here, with good friends. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Liked by 2 people

    • It would be nice if you could wave that magic wand. We’re going to wave ours and do a little southern Utah road trip in April. What a change it will be from this! I’m glad you liked the post, Scott, thanks for commenting. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  11. Well definitely not a “doomed attempt,” it’s a lovely poem, really enjoyed it.
    “Inkling” is an odd word, in a nice way, seems like a diminutive, like my grandparents sometimes calling us kids “liebling” or “kinderlech.” Inkling seems like it could be the light sketches I sometimes see artist put down on the canvas before painting, although I think that’s penciling.
    It’s a good word for those first faint lines of a thought or feeling in your brain, before they become fully distinct and readable.
    #9 is so nicely balanced, it could be a 19th century landscape, like those “Hudson Valley” paintings you see in the big museums.
    And I really like that angled sweep of shore and the silvery water in #5, boy walking along the shingle, right out of the shot seems like a pretty attractive idea.
    And like the three frames in #6, three different kinds of brush- or pen-strokes, a great set.
    Still pretty snowy/icy here, we had a couple of days where it seemed like spring might start to arrive but then it beat it for the coast I guess, they closed the univ. one day for all the ice. That’s ok still enjoying seeing the snow! Have a great weekend, Lynn

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do love your association with Hudson River School paintings, Robert, that’s flattering. The folks just out of the frame in #5 are a lichenologist friend, a native plant specialist friend, and a best friend (my Joe). ๐Ÿ˜‰
      That’s a nice association between the black and white images and brush or pen strokes, too. More examples of asemic writing in nature, right?
      Ice days aren’t as nice as snow days…but spring will come, eventually. We have snow on the ground right now too, though just a bit. Even that doesn’t usually last the 3 days it has already lasted. And the distant mountains are looking beautifully white. I hope you have a good weekend – thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. As for the images… you weave your magic spell and put me right there… in your moist, lush little corner of our gorgeous, glorious globe. (How’s that for alliteration?) ๐Ÿ˜‰ A true gift in these fraught times… ๐ŸŒฑ

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll take a gorgeous, glorious globe any day of the week. There’s supposed to be more rain coming this week but I think it will be off and on, as it often is. Right now we have a decent amount of moisture in the ground, I think. I just don’t want to see a dry spring – I don’t know why that’s on my mind, I guess because the weather is so unreliable these days. I hope you’re on the receiving end of some rain down there! Thanks for your thoughts!

      Like

  13. WOW … your spring is so far ahead of ours! We have absolutely no inkling whatsoever here. As a matter of fact we just received about 2 feet of snow (but we needed it). I love your image of the new licorice ferns sprouting on the fallen log. And the straight diagonal in your #5 composition made me pause to enjoy a little longer. Beautiful words and pictures and happy almost spring … for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely no inkling – you made me chuckle, Denise. ๐Ÿ™‚ But I’m not surprised, that’s the difference between inland and being near the water, even at this latitude. We had snow this week, too, but 2 inches, not 2 feet, and it’s mostly gone. Spring is a long, slow affair here, stretching from late February to early June or later because June can be quite cool and cloudy. Then it dries out altogether in summer and the Licorice ferns shrivel up, only to appear again with the fall rains. So those ferns have been there for months but they do look brighter, happier even, now. The earliest wildflowers are getting started – I think that’s the next post – meanwhile, I hope you will still enjoy your crisp, clear air and beautiful snow. Thanks!

      Like


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s