Last updated: April 14, 2015
Temperatures start to warm each day. The sun shines longer. Melting snow and rains make the water flow faster and louder in streams, creeks and rivers. Animals awaken from their wintry naps. Babies are born. Flowers begin to bloom. These are just few signs of Mother Nature’s rebirth.
I love the spring. To me, this is the season where new life begins to take shape. The bare tree branches begin to sprout new leaves, and nature’s vibrant hues are unmasked once again. Spring or springtime refers to the season of the year, but also to the idea of rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection and regrowth. How or why does this occur?
In spring the axis of the Earth is increasing its tilt relative to the sun causing the length of daylight to rapidly increase thus causing a warming effect which increases temperatures. Each day becomes longer and warmer causing new plant growth to “spring forth,” giving the season its name.
While I was out in the park the other day, and I found these tiny flowers of purple and white in the hardwood bottoms, just off the Gouedy Trail. The flower I discovered is appropriately named Spring Beauty (scientific name Claytonia virginica). Its scientific name honors Colonial Virginian botanist, John Clayton (1694-1773). Spring Beauties love rich fertile soil and are found most often in the woods and nearby streams. Each flower is only about ½ inch wide when fully open on sunny days. The flowers act as a blanket covering the forest floor. They emerge from underground tubers (similar to small potatoes), that have been mostly dormant during the winter months. Another name for Spring Beauty is “fairy spud” because of the appearance of the underground tubers.
According to legend, during the late 18th and early 19th century the first sign of the Spring Beauty opened the courting season. During courtship single men made themselves presentable wishing to find their own “Spring Beauty.” The Spring Beauty is one of the first wildflowers to bloom each year – a definite sign that spring is on its way.
Spending time in the outdoors is essential for everyone’s well-being. It is a chance to get away (if only for an hour or two) from the everyday stress and scheduled routines that most of our daily lives have become. To explore nature away from the daily grind gives you an opportunity to invigorate your body as well as your mind. Nature gives you space to think and put your problems in perspective while getting in touch with the basic elements and your primal self.
Take a walk on a trail of your choice. Better yet, come visit us at Ninety Six National Historic Site and see how rejuvenating it can be to your mind, body, and soul. Plus it is always good for your health! Discover nature’s little wonders.