Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Yesterday, Jackie and I went on an adventure in the woods that line the banks of her beloved cove, on the Hudson River. I’ve heard her speak of this place many times, mostly about her outings there by canoe, but today, we decided to walk along the banks, and take in its mysteries from shore. I immediately saw what her great love of this place was about: it was a secret little cove with a magical atmosphere. It inspired in me a sense of what it must have been like here, hundreds of years ago, undisturbed, and left entirely to the workings of nature’s hand.
This place stands on the fringes of the Adirondack region, so that, though we were only as far north as the town of Moreau, one, brought there blindfolded, might swear that they were much farther north.
We clambered over rocks, and shimmied between trees, delighting over trees which had literally grown around, and straddled, boulders, which had stood in their way; and gingerly picked our way over swampy patches of mud, making our way, one by one, to the many points that projected into the water. We stood on the great boulders, looking down into the waters below, and scrambled over them, finding them covered with multiple species of lichen and moss; and here and there, we found plants that doggedly grew out of rock crevices: Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) Corydalis (Corydalis sempervirens) and Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) some of which, resolute in life’s purpose, despite the many frosts, were still producing blooms!
As we continued along, we saw Meadowsweet, truly ablaze in color; every warm color one could name was represented in its many hues; creating an effect that caused it to virtually glow, as though with its own inner light.
Not far from the stand of Meadowsweet, I noticed an evergreen plant with which I was not familiar, and Jackie told me that it was Goldthread (Coptis trifolia). She overturned one of the plants and showed me the slender, golden rootstock from which its common name is derived, and then carefully turned it over, and patted it back in place. When I got home, I looked it up in Andrew Chevallier’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, and found that the plant was a traditional herbal medicine, used for canker sores, sore throats, and other problems in the mouth.
We noted, in one area, in particular, red was the overriding color: even things that were normally green, such as winterberry, here, on these rocks, were burgundy; and those things that were normally red, such as blueberry buds, were very red, indeed; even the rocks themselves had a pink hue in places, and we wondered if the particular mineral content of these rocks was effecting the color of the plants that grew around, and upon it.
So many questions! So many mysteries to be solved! So little time! Indeed, it is the awareness of the shortness of time that makes me all the more grateful for days such as these!