Springtime Among Blue Bells
In a beechwood forest the cups rose up and carpeted the ground in perennial blues. Those fortunate enough can walk the dirt paths between this colored fleece alongside the highway. Listening to the passing cars and semis, we crossed a bridge towards the columned rows of hardwoods, barren at ground level for their broad and domineering root structure. Like the roots, trails etched lines in the forest floor and laid their own empty paths among the rare blanket of color. It was almost a shame to waste the ground with space to walk.
Just inside Flanders, the Hallerbos National Park delineated an entrance to Dutch speaking country and I must say, the Bluebells seemed to fit the stereotypical bill for the Dutch: tulips, windmills, and wooden clogs. Nothing of the sort presented itself; however, inklings of all seeped through. We walked for five miles or so, alternating between flowers harbored by beech and pine patches scarring the ground with their needles. My memory paints the border of scenes marked by fading transitions in history. The ground we stood upon rarely retained loyalty for long. A Celt passed through on his way to Basque Country, England and Ireland, having no idea that his way of life, superior to those in his wake, would only be rediscovered after all bridges burned in Europe. Franks and Goths, over a millennia ago, likely paused like myself. They probably sat down for a moment and pondered the pastoral lines of color undulating purple, white, yellow, and blue. I have to imagine that they searched for a route through the blessing and gave up. The trees, perfectly spaced, rose as neutral beams providing context and perspective to illuminating color. Everything glowed. As the sun hopefully broke through stubborn clouds and rays cast bending shafts over the edges of branches splitting at the ends in new buds, our predecessors also looked up at the silhouetted canopy drawing a spherical cradle and felt the contentment that boundaries provide.
We tried to catch these moments on the camera because as the light hit the flowers it became almost blinding: an effulgent burst of Spring joy releasing Winter’s dormant grip. I risk saying too much here. The colors waved along the ground; the wind, through hardwoods and pines, picked up their fragrance and lapped the cups upwards, mouths to the sky. They swung back and forth in a silent seasonal rhythm, speaking only in the movement of their pursed lips. Our year has been blessed by wildflowers in every month: alpine throughout the American summer; magnolia and roses in Mexican Autumn; alpine again in Chilean and Argentine Summer; Spring Cherries in Georgia; and the Blue Cups in Belgium. We’ve missed the winter stagnancy where ever we go and instead continue to get swept up with the faster moving flow found in the warmer seasons of change.