Well hello fairy slipper, calypso bulbosa, so nice to see you again.

Based on the Wellness Almanac archives, this little one is a wee bit early, but pretty much right on time, showing up on Sunday afternoon for my dawdling pleasure, and acceding to my request to take a photo, which had me grovelling in the ground awkwardly trying to get my iphone to focus on the right thing.

Something wonderful I learned from Dandelion and Clover’s instagram post about Phenology is that you can track the comings and goings of certain things, BY THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER THINGS. And so, you can level up your gardening skills by noticing what the wild world is doing, and aligning your plantings with the greater rhythms and subtle cycles.

(Here’s me thinking phenology just meant paying attention to when certain things happen – ie track the first peeper, the trumpeter swans, the first sighting of a calypso orchid. BUT IT’S MORE THAN THAT! It’s about “the relations between climate and recurring biological phenomena, such as bird migration or plant flowering” – not just the cause and effect relations (ie the temperature reaching a certain point and thereby awakening certain species), but the inter-relations between things, that share a habitat. All flourishing is mutual, as Robin Wall Kimmerer writes. So the carrot flourishes when it’s planted when the lilac is flowering.

This Earth is its own calendar, as are our bodies. Marvel upon marvels.

So, this sentence from our 2014 celebration of the fairy slipper, carries a new level of meaning for me:

This native orchid appears in our local woods around the time the salmonberry blooms. 

Say it out loud and it starts to sound like a magical spell.

Also, when you read: “The Calypso orchid, also known as the fairy slipper or Venus’ slipper, is a perennial orchid found in undisturbed forest. The plants live no more than five years, and bloom from late March until June. It is classified as threatened or endangered in several US states and Sweden and Finland,” it can feel like a hymn to the magic of this moment, and our absolute utter privilege to be inhabiting it, and to encounter such a being – rare, delicate, delightful.

May we protect our forests well enough that they remain undisturbed habitat for fairy slippers and other moments of delight.

PS Check out this post about phenology and signs of spring : https://thewellnessalmanac.com/2018/04/12/seasonal-observations-its-spring-and-love-is-in-the-air/

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