Spring is finally trickling in to the upstate woods.

Yesterday the trout lilies and bloodroots were out and about, so we’re feeling a bit more sanguine about the weather.

Still dipping into the 30’s some nights, like a bad habit you can’t break.

And the woods still look autumnal in most places.  Last year’s beech leaves still clinging on, in a few spots, looking pale and ghostly.

Few trees have leafed out, and other than moss and evergreens, the wood colors are predominately browns and grays.

But finally, not a scrap of snow still lurking, even in the crevices of the darkest ravines.

I wondered why these acorns, even if they didn’t fall far from the tree, left without their caps.








A weed’s empty seed head, no bigger than a shirt button, is unexpectedly interesting.

Finger Lakes, FLX, hiking, Nature, Spring, Upstate New York



35 thoughts on “Lingerers

  1. melissabluefineart says:

    This can be kind of a melancholy time of year, can’t it, while we wait for spring to really arrive. I never got the phrase, “out in the sticks” (even though that is where I’ve mostly lived and it should have been obvious) until I heard a gardener make reference to “stick season”. Ah hah! Funny, in a dreary kind of way. Out in northern Ca it was never grey and brown and stick-y.

  2. I could be writing the same lamentations, Robert! We are about 3 weeks behind. The trees have been holding back. The cherry trees usually past their blossoming time have not shown their bridal garments. At least the grass is green and the abundant conifers as consolation are always green. Let us hope that Nature will hurry and grant us the views we are accustomed to this time of the year.

  3. pinklightsabre says:

    That’s a nice little ditty there Mr. Parker, a touch of the Simon and Garfunkel (or Sting). My favorite kind of walk in the woods. Must be a strand of snow somewhere though, eh?!

    • Thanks Bill! I was thinking malingerers at first, but the acorns, leaves, etc. weren’t doing anything wrong, just time for them to be gone. Then I thought of the Cranberries “Linger,” but that’s a break-up song, if I remember right.

      • pinklightsabre says:

        Yeah. “Linger.” Everything takes on newfound irony now, dunnit? I saw that first title of yours on the email version. I often change stuff after I post too. Bad habit probably. Reversional history.

        • Yeah, probably is a bad habit, go with your first instinct vs 2nd thoughts, etc. but made a snap call – it sounded negative, and what did acorns ever do to me? Although this fall, for some reason, there were so many on the ground, it was like walking on marbles sometimes.
          I edit and tweak sometimes, on old posts, that no one is going to see the updated version, but that’s pretty common I think, director’s cut, etc. glad to hear you do it, too. In college, when I read heavier stuff like Henry James, they’d talk about his different editions, I guess he was never done editing himself.

  4. It’s true that the woods do seem autumnal at first. Makes sense – that’s the last time the ground saw the sun. It’s like the snow put a stop to everything, then it melts in the cycle just continues where it left off: the final bits of decay before rebirth. Winter is Mother Nature’s pause button.

    • Oh, I like that! Yeah, exactly. For the first few days, when it’s warming up, walking through the leaves, it even smells like Fall, before the rain re-starts the disintegration again. Thanks Michael!

  5. Darts and Letters says:

    I’m glad spring is finally……well, sort of coming to you, in that ironic, upstate sense :-). Even though I grew up in Great Lakes country, sometimes I really forget how far apart the seasons get started. and think of the major difference that could make in our respective psyches! Spring started so long ago for us. My mom and dad are right across the water from Milwaukee, they just had their first really decent day in quite some time, to be outside in the yard. They are bananas for nicer, outside weather.

    Like those beech leaves you remarked about we have oaks at the bottom of our hill that are pretty late budders. And they’re still full of crispy, brown leaves. We probably have twenty or thirty little oaks sprouting all around our yard, the squirrels around here are unusually industrious. It always makes me feel quite terrible in the fall when I’m digging stuff up and I find acorn after acorn, it must be really confusing to them when they come back and look all over.

    Are you working remotely from New York for awhile or heading back to Wisconsin? I bet your family loves having you back, you’re obviously no shrinking hyacinth but I bet they must worry a little about you being up there by yourself? It didn’t really occur to me before to ask if everything was okay in NY for your family, hope this was a planned visit.

    • Yeah, everything’s good here, thanks for asking, I had had a month in the isolation ward (my 1-bedroom apt) and am spending a month with my parents and sister. Looks like my university is going to do a partial furlough, but I’m still working full-time so far, and finishing up a couple classes. One of the classes was supposed to be online anyway.
      I remember reading an article one time about different squirrel hoarding techniques, including fake hoarding, to throw off burglars, and which variety of squirrel loses more nuts, so don’t feel bad about digging up some of them, they used to losing a fair percentage I think. at my parents house, it’s acorns and black walnuts, sprouting up in all sorts of weird places, so apparently the squirrels just don’t remember where they hide all of them.
      This week we are in the 60s, and it’s feeling pretty great.

  6. We’re quite a bit ahead of you on Spring, even the maples have leafed out, so it’s a little surprising to be reminded we’re not all on the same calendar. I guess the flip side is we’ve been “enjoying” the pollen for quite a while too. I didn’t know you were back in NY, sometimes it’s hard to tell as you write about NY even when not there. Despite the sticks, it looks like things are oakey-dokey.

    • Hi Dave – Yeah, I’m back for a while, working from home, my 1-bedroom apt was getting smaller & smaller after a month, so staying with my family. My folks are WFH also, and my sister is finishing up her college classes. The spring pollen gets me, too, but it’s really nice to see all the flowers, etc. and get out walking in the state forests, less crowded than the parks. Hope all is well in Oregon!

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