February is quite the interesting month. Besides the fabricated “leap day” that occasionally makes its way into the calendar year, this month’s appeal can be attributed to other (more authentic) reasons.
It’s a transitional time, characterized by days that are occasionally cool, sunny, and breezy. Appearances are made by several non-native annuals, including garlic mustard, chickweed, and purple deadnettle (if but only for a few short days). The ground is thawing, the rivers’ water levels are rising, and the maple tree sap is finally running.
February is an enticing month, for sure — one that inevitably beckons the nature enthusiast to return to the woods.
And then it snows. Or an ice storm arrives. Or the temperatures rapidly drop back down to zero.
Perhaps it is the capriciousness of this month that is most intriguing. Winter seems like such a distant memory when a sunny February weekend convinces us otherwise.
Let’s not forget, however, that the spring equinox is indeed still a few weeks away. Have patience, we are reminded — the buds will open in due time, the wood anemone will flower sooner or later, and the morel mushrooms will surely appear (though not soon enough!).
Until then, let’s savor these last few weeks of winter by spending as much time as we can meandering around the quiet land.
No time, you say? Too busy? One too many things on your list?
Ah, I hear ya — though perhaps I can help.
I recently spent some time walking through North Park in Western Pennsylvania, identifying the various species that inhabit the area. With a camera in hand, I decided to create a brief video in which I discuss many plants, trees, and mushrooms — all wearing their winter outfits.
Are you interested in learning a few of the common species that can be found this time of year? It’s as easy as clicking the play button down below.
Let’s walk and learn!