Field Notes: April’s Farewell

Even the side of the road is a pleasure to see.

The green continues to seep in the landscape, and I want it to linger a little where it is. I don’t want it to come on so fast. Isn’t that just like life? We want things to stay for a little bit. I walk around deeply filling my lungs with air, deep and heady with damp showers and the scent of dirt, molds and wet leaves. Also, lightly, delicately, there are the intoxicating scents of lily of the valley and lilac, both just starting to bloom. Each time I look out the window the green is more startling. Its vibrancy is shocking. Can things be this lush?

The way the maples leaf out is fascinating, and I am sure I look crazy as I stumble around my yard looking up at the trees. Now that I’m tapping them I am really making note of the sugars and the reds and the silvers, realizing how different they all are. The sugar maples shine a glorious chartreuse, their flowers stringy, like green chandaliers. As the leaves begin to form they start to look like tiny jellyfish. The red maples go from red and gold pompoms to spider like leaves that will soon reach up and out to the sun. The silver seems to be the quickest to leaf, but it’s also in the sunniest spot, its deeply lobed leaves stretch like spidery fingers.

I’ve been prowling my morel mushroom spots, and I have come to the realization that it’s a long term affair. It’s years in the making. It requires some obsession. On the online pages I frequent, especially the local mycology page, people post pictures of their treasures. Of course, I am jealous, because mine have not yet come up. It brings out something fierce in me, something obsessive: I must have that. I’ll be honest and say that it’s not the prettiest feeling, and I try to rein it in. Still, I go looking more and more. The other day I visited a reliable spot and found nothing. I continued to look in larger radius, enjoying walking below the bower of the apple trees I hunted in, listening to the bees buzzing above, drinking from the just-opened blossoms. From a distance, I saw it: a conical head popping up from the ground. Several little half-free morels were clustered around, and I was so glad to see them! They were my first morchella semilibera find, so it was a thrill.

Apple blossoms.

Yesterday was a true banner spring day—no longer early, tentative spring, but bounding, luxurious, full-on spring. Warm in the sun, a casual breeze at points, with no teeth, just soft and gentle ruffle-your-hair kind of breeze. Getting out of my car after grocery shopping, I was astounded: there it was! Shade! Shade is a shock when you haven’t seen it for months, and then it’s just there as if it never was gone. We take shade for granted, so I always like to welcome it back. Yes, we herald the leaves unfurling, but the shade it creates is a treasure for all of us. Looking up, the trees bend and sway in the gentle breeze, and they seem to feel like I feel, just going with it, deliciously.

We went down to the river in the afternoon, and my son got his feet wet—one of his favorite things. I sat on the shore on a make shift bench someone had cobbled together out of two stumps and an old picnic table slat, the brown paint peeling from a stint in the river. The shore was covered with invasive ornamental water chestnuts, locally called “cow heads,” or devil pods, as we like to call them. I stared out at the Esopus lighthouse, the waves of the river in high tide rippling and glowing blue, hypnotizing me with their movement, cumulus clouds rising up over the horizon of the East shore in Dutchess county. When this weather hits us, it can pack a wallop. It’s beauty is heady and strong, and I felt in a daze from it all.

The Hudson River and the Esopus Lighthouse, looking east.


  1. This is just beautiful, Julia. I have been noticing many of the same things and you’ve captured it so nicely. Congrats on finding your first morels! I have yet to do that. (and know that feeling you mention – I felt that way the first time I was hunting for ramps and have since let it go after I found out how at risk they are). But I bet it will be back with regards to some fungi or other 🙂

    On Sat, Apr 29, 2017 at 7:52 AM, The Preserved Life wrote:

    > Julia Sforza posted: ” The green continues to seep in the landscape, and I > want it to linger a little where it is. I don’t want it to come on so fast. > Isn’t that just like life? We want things to stay for a little bit. I walk > around deeply filling my lungs with air, deep and ” >

    1. Thank you so much, Eve! Wasn’t yesterday just glorious? My ramp lust has certainly (forcibly) died down, too. But other obsessions will continue, I’m sure!

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