As winter wanes and the weather warms, trout lilies aren't the only wildflowers worth watching. The distinctive three-lobed leaves of liverwort offer a clue to the keen observer that the early-blooming hepatica is here.
Sure enough, lovely lavendar-blue blossoms peer forth a few feet from last year's latent leaves.
Nearby, another pair emerges. Hairy stalks and three-lobed leaf confirms the call, Hepatica americana, round-lobed hepatica or liverwort.
Not nearly as numerous as yesterday's trout lilies, but all the more appealing for their scarcity, these tiny towers arise from the monotony of the forest floor across a quarter acre or so of dry, rocky hillside.
Living amethysts scattered carelessly among the cast off leaves of summers past.
What meaning, this revelation? This tiny explosion of color from a bed of brown?
Beauty in the eye of the beholder; Joy at witnessing another of life's little mysteries...
Oh, look! Those are a different color! I wonder...