02 April 2009

Signs of Spring: Pussy Willows, Bitterroot Rosettes

"Springtime in the Rockies" is the stuff of legend--the Slim Whitman song doesn't tell you about the alternating days (sometimes hours) of blizzard and brilliant sunshine, though. In Butte, Montana April can be the cruelest month (T.S. Eliot).

But didn't ee cummings write something to the effect, "You can't stop Spring"? If not, he should have. Indomitable Spring. Or, as Dylan Thomas put it, "The green fuse that drives the flower."

I noticed the pussy willows (Salix discolor) for the first time yesterday morning:


And, on the way home, the dime-sized bitterroot rosettes(Lewisia rediva) pushing up through the receding snow:


Come summer, the nutrient-producing leaves will whither away under the hot sun, and beautiful pink crocus-like flowers (Montana's state flower) will brighten the prairie.

7 comments:

Deer Passion said...

Isn't it wonderful watching the world wake up in the spring? Hopefully you'll post some pix of the bitteroot when it blooms this summer....

Janie said...

I've seen the bitterroot flowers and they're beautiful. I had no idea they looked like your photo when first coming up.
Re: bristlecones..
Hi,
I did a blog post on Bristlecones back when we first found them in Indian Canyon last fall. Here's the link:
http://uthappytrails.blogspot.com/2008/10/bristlecone-surprise.html
There are close up photos of the needles and cones. The needles are shorter than limber pine and closer together than whitebark. The ones we found were on dry, rocky, exposed slopes.
If, after studying your tree book and our photos, you think we've mis-classified, let me know!

leslie said...

Love that Dylan Thomas poem. One of my favorites.

fishing guy said...

ER: It is wonderful to see signs of Spring. It will slowly come to the area. Those a really nice captures.
We do Sky Watch Friday each Thursday at 3PM EST because it is already Friday around the globe.

Louise said...

They have tenacity, those living things putting forth their best in the midst of snow and cold still hanging on.

Beautiful captures!!

EcoRover said...

Indeed, Deer Passion, the bitterroots (rock roses, colloquial name) will bloom on the day of the elk rib bbq, and there will be pics. Some pics from last year at http://ecorover.blogspot.com/2008/06/bitterroot-extravaganza.html and a life history at http://ecorover.blogspot.com/2007/06/in-praise-of-bitterroots-and-other-late.html .

Janie, thank you for the bristlecone I.D.--my guide books were not as helpful as your post.

Leslie, Dylan seems to have written a poetry of the seasonal rhythm--not a month goes by that one doesn't come to mind.

Fishing Guy, thanks for the SkyWatch info--maybe I'll get my act together on it next week. Or the next.

Louise, life is life, eh? Or, as our German friends say, "Leben ist leben" [Life (with a capital L) is living (lower case l)].

John Theberge said...

The pussywillows are in full force here too. They're always a welcome sight after a long winter. Our snow is finally melting away, I'm glad to see it go.