But that isn't the only marker of spring.. for as the mountains green, so do our lives' activities mark the season's arrival.. in work, in play... in celebration... climbing, paddling, hiking... chasing that 100 ft per day... (and when we catch it, we put in in our pocket for next winter's fireside)
Potatoes cut and planted, the harvest distant, but already in sight.. the spring's cool rains and sun's warmth bring out a variety of eminently edible mushrooms known as morels from the forest floor.. ("merkles" as they're pronounced locally, perhaps from "miracle" in the local dialect) Sprouting from nothing.. free for the taking, and easy on the taste buds.
A day, or two or three is never wasted when spent hunting miracles.
And not only do the rains bring forth merkles from the forest duff, but they also swell the local creeks and bring out the year's crop of white water boaters from Hood College.. testing their newly acquired skills, and stretching the limits of what is within their abilities.. and not ceasing to be amazed.
Overall Falls, the icy playground of our winter afternoons, now mercurial, is breathtaking as it leaps off the mountain in full flight..filling the air with white noise and mist.. plunging headlong into the valley below.
Waterfalls and wildflowers, wildflowers and waterfalls.. the ying and yang of springtime in Shenandoah.
Our scheduled weekly hikes (Thursdays) and climbs (Wednesdays) in Shenandoah National Park have started... and life for us and our guests just doesn't get a whole lot sweeter!
On a recent warm day we were joined by Bill and Mary Burnham, noted travel writers and guidebook authors.. as they journeyed with us into higher and less visited regions of Shenandoah. The uphill labors were well rewarded. Our day was measured not by mileage or even by elapsed time, but by the procession of the green into the heights as we passed through the seasons, from the emerald lowlands, back into winter grays of the heights.
(someone please queue Copeland's "Fanfare for the Common Man")