I finally saw my first wildflower of the season at Willow River State Park. I wasn’t too excited when it turned out to be a dandelion. Within a yard of the dandelion were a few small, blue violets. I don’t know what type of violet. Wildflowers can be hard to identify. For example, I also saw some small white flowers that could be either a type of everlasting or a type of pussytoes. I’m not sure which.
This time of year, late March and early April, I always complain about the weather. I’ve lived in the upper Midwest for decades, so I should know that we always get winter weather this time of year. But I always think that maybe, just maybe, we might make it through the end of this season with no more cold weather. Never happens. Never, ever. So the best thing to do is to bundle up and get outside. I did today. I spent the afternoon hiking in the state park. By the end of the afternoon the sun was coming out and all was good with the world. Spring is, after all, just around the corner.
I was walking through the woods when I noticed bits of bright red among the dead leaves scattered on the ground. I first thought that they were litter left by careless hikers. Luckily I took a closer look. They were mushrooms. When I got home I looked them up. Scarlet Cups, one of the first mushrooms to emerge after winter. One of the first signs of spring. A surprising color to see on the forest floor at this time of year.