Those earliest hikes, the one's when you're pushing your luck against the probability of one of winter's final assaults before she finally relinquishes her reign to spring, are always iffy. But they're also the hikes that can yield the sweetest surprises. Finding early flowers, the tender ones that always die young, is the reward for a hiker's willingness to risk a late snow or sleet storm. This hike had given us that. Along either side of the trail, hidden back in the underbrush where remnants of snow wept into boggy soil, we found scattered Forget Me Nots, their tiny blue faces shining up from the early green grasses. We were both smitten and kept stopping each other to show off the next batch we'd discovered. (I loved how Gavin could get as carried away by nature as I do.) We turned a corner and came upon the trickle of a tiny spring, bleeding it's way across the trail. We followed it's path off to the left and down into a shallow little glen, no more than five feet wide, maybe ten or eleven feet long--and were suddenly frozen in awe. The glen was blanketed with Forget Me Nots. It was as if a soft blue mist had gathered there in that hollow and lay resting at our feet. Time slowed and we stood silent in the beauty of that pristine moment, nothing more than awe passing between us.
Another turn of seasons, and Spring begins to raise her sleepy head. I imagine there are Forget Me Nots out there in that glen again this year. I don't know that I want to hike out to see. I don't know if I want to stand in that moment again without Gavin. But it is good to imagine them there. And it's good to know that they'll come again every spring as the snow disappears into the dark loamy mountain soil.
Photo credit: flikr.