Early sunlight in early spring. Watercolor by Carolyn Newberger

Illuminating the Hidden Forest, Chapter 44: Finding our bearings

Through this season of tectonic changes in the world around us, I have become ever more tuned in to the day-by-day-by-day changes that in other years passed me by.

To read the previous chapters of ‘Illuminating the Hidden Forest,’ click here.

May 3, 2020

Spring is coming, slowly, slowly. It seems to arrive from the ground up. As we walk through the forest in this endless season of rain and cold, we notice the small things first.

The dull winter greens of the mosses brighten imperceptibly, and tiny leaves push improbably from the crevasses of massive boulders.

New life on Balance Rock. Photo: Carolyn Newberger

Early ramps and trillium begin to push through, so tenderly transparent at first that we imagine we can see through their young leaves.

Tender trillium. Photo: Carolyn Newberger

Then, like a slowly gathering chorus, new voices emerge. Buds on brush begin to swell. The brash leaves of skunk cabbage fan up in the marshy places. Fuzzy fiddleheads, like newborn babies, emerge tightly curled. And now, gazing into the stubbornly bare forest canopy at the very beginning of May, a few trees are barely beginning to blush.

Fiddleheads tightly curled. Photo: Carolyn Newberger

Through this season of tectonic changes in the world around us, I have become ever more tuned in to the day-by-day-by-day changes that in other years passed me by. I have become attentive to the stirrings of emerging life.

Like a telescope in reverse, these observations concentrate one’s focus, tightening the diameter of the lens until both eye and mind are fully contained in the contemplation of a miniature piece of nature bursting with life and promise.

Thinking big, it’s easy to get lost. Focusing small, we find our bearings.