When time springs forward each year in the heart of Carolina, the lost hour of sleep is immediately replaced by an "extra" hour of daylight. Hoot Owl Karma chose to spend that extra hour today in search of another early blooming wildflower, the rue anemone. Upon entering the woods in a likely spot beside a meandering woodland stream, the quester was greeted by a strident chorus of frogs arrayed along the margins of the deeper pools. While hundreds of voices were involved in the performance, a single diminutive northern cricket frog was the only visual evidence of amphibians to be found.
Just a few yards up the hillside, this brown-skinned basker seemed determined to make the most of its extra hour of sunlight as well. Carolina anole may soon take on its cloak of green, but for today, brown was definitely the color of choice.
While scanning the bottomland for the telltale blossom of the anemone, the wanderer observed other signs of spring. Dozens of these striking stems dotted the floodplain along the stream, teasing the observer with just a hint of their true identity.
A bit farther along, their intrigue abruptly ended when this complex matrix of 5 pronged leaves gracefully unfurled. The red buckeye would be well represented in these parts this year!
Suddenly, and at last, the rue anemone! Invisible for a time in the sun-dappled expanse of browns and tans and faded browns on the forest floor, but glaringly obvious once the image of the first flits across the visual cortex of the seeker, several individuals now spring into view.
Judging from the small numbers and the early stage of the blossoms, we caught these lithe beauties just after their initial emergence. Whether blessing, good luck or karma, we're grateful for the cosmic juxtaposition which allowed us to complete our trifecta of hepatica, anemone and spring beauty with rather little effort on this gorgeous afternoon.
A parting look, then out of the woods for a while. We'll have to settle for the domesticated spring blossoms for a few days until we can slip away for another walk on the wild side.