Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Notes From My Knapsack 05-01-05
Jeff Gill

Hillsides so long sodden with grey and brown alone are now alive.
Rumblings of yellow green ripple across ridgelines, with sparks of dogwood white and redbud pink scattering down into the valleys.
Lilacs and forsythia are drawing attention up from the now fading daffodils and hyacinth along the streets and driveways, in glowing magentas and shocking yellow. As for how many snows that yellow must wear, two or three, I'd say heavy snow on Shakespeare's Birthday is enough to fulfill any atmospheric prophecy.
Foliage, so long absent, is making itself known by obscuring views and outlines under the filling canopy of leaves. The weight of this biomass, each leaf so light and insubstantial, will in hundreds and thousands likely add enough pull to fell a last few limbs cracked by the December ice storm.
But the ground cover has a few more pleasant surprises, with the bright splash of trillium on north slopes, still shady and cool even on the warmer days, pointing the path to morels among the mulch.
This is the time of year that I do miss West Virginia; we only lived there six years, but Aaron Copeland knew what he was talking about when he wrote "Appalachian Spring" and immortalized "'Tis a Gift To Be Simple" in his orchestral setting of that Shaker tune. What can be wearying and confining about steep mountain slopes all around is exhilarating when the green fuse of springtime is lit, and all the flowering trees lift up elevated and elevating blossoms.
Last weekend was Earth Day, which the Licking Park District celebrated with their Nature Fest out at the William C. Kraner Nature Center. Rich Niccum, LPD Program Coordinator (although we all just call him Ranger Rich), had an Earth Day poster contest open to K through 6 students all over the county.
Despite the truly atrocious weather that morning, a good steady stream of visitors came through out on Fairview Road, looking at a variety of dispalys by area nature organizations, and many but not enough got to see and hear the winning poster makers.
First place for 4 to 6 grades was Matthew Bustillo, a sixth grader with Mr. Stevenson's class at Utica Elementary. First place among K to 3 grades went to Chloe Tyznik, at Granville Elementary in Ms. Jones' third grade class. Entries and other winners came from Kirkersville, Searfoss, Summit, and Oregon Elementaries, and from homeschoolers.
Great work to all the winners, and thanks to Rich and all the LPD staff for judging a big, big stack of entries. Stop by some day between Noon and 4 pm (closed Mondays) out at the Nature Center and see their view of springtime hillsides out towards Flint Ridge.

Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and supply preacher around central Ohio; if you have views of spring to share, send 'em to disciple@voyager.net.

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