A month before the Spring equinox, this
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
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
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.
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.
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.)).