My walk in the woods

I live near a large forest preserve. The woods where I take my walks are young–less than a hundred years old–and are managed by the preserve, meaning that underbrush is regularly cut or burned out to encourage the trees to grow. For these reasons my forest doesn’t look very much like The Settlement‘s forest. Ecologically, though, they’re the same. Let me show you some of the things Anna talks about in Dark and Deep.

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This is Dutchman’s Breeches. It blooms in mid-spring in disturbed areas of the forest floor. See? It looks like little pantaloons hung out to dry. In my Midwestern dialect, “breeches” is pronounced “britches”. This is a cute plant but doesn’t have any value to a scavenger. It causes contact dermatitis in some people.

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Here you can see how young and small the trees are. Alas.

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Virginia Bluebells are just beginning to bloom here. The blossoms vary from pink to purple to blue on a single bunch. This is a member of Boraginaceae, the same family as comfrey.

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Here is a view of the river with two interesting trees. First, a redbud just beginning to bud. On the opposite bank is a large sycamore tree with white bark. They always make me smile and think of the Weirwood trees in George R. R. Martin’s books, or the White Tree of Gondor in Lord of the Rings.

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This is Spring Beauty. It’s a tiny starry flower that blooms continuously for two or three months in the springtime. This patch was white. Sometimes it’s pink. It has edible corms, though each is about the size of a pea so you’d have to dig up a lot to make it worthwhile.

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Nice-sized tree ears growing on a fallen log. Some tree ears are edible, I’m sure that many aren’t.

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Lastly a red trillium. They come in white and red and intermediate varieties, but in my neck of the woods the red is most common. They’re somewhat rare here and much more common on the west coast.

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