There’s this sort of game I play with myself so that I can get things done that I don’t really want to do. Most weekends it’s cleaning the house and doing the grocery shopping. Today it was a visit to the dentist and grading mid-term exams that were on the *don’t really want to do* list. So in an attempt to balance out the negative emotions involved in those two activities, I spent a few hours after the dentist wandering around a state park that I don’t often visit.
It’s a very urban park, but with a nice mix of habitats – a sample of the more southern pine barrens forest with lots of pitch pine and a dense stand of Atlantic white cedar, plus the upland hardwood forest with beech, black birch, red and white oak and old growth white pine. There’s also a fairly large bit of salt marsh and a freshwater marsh that I can admire from the Garden State Parkway at 70 mph as it passes through the park.
The trails were very wet; that was the only tangible sign of spring that I found today. No spring azures, no fiddleheads, no skunk cabbage or hint of buds on the mountain laurel or swamp azalea. It’s supposed to be very easy to find pink lady’s slippers here and trailing arbutus, but I’ll have to go back later to find those beauties when spring isn’t just in my imagination.
I came home to the stack of mid-terms happy to have had a few hours out, but disappointed that I hadn’t found more to put me in mind of the coming season. Maybe it’s just as well that I don’t catch spring fever quite so soon. There’s still six more weeks of students and papers for me to contend with.