As our part of the earth looks away from the sun—a month to the Solstice—we really know it here in Vermont. Even if today is dark and rainy and feels more like March, last week was a cold blast of early winter that left the ground everywhere covered in snow and ice. Living things, humans included, have evolved to adapt in ways that are obvious in November. Most animals either move south or slow down and move into winter micro-climates. Plants can’t move so they have other strategies.
The Christmas Fern is green all winter. Early on it remains erect in gorgeous contrast to the new snow. Later it snuggles down against the ground, barely seen under the snow except in melted patches.
The Maidenhair Fern, a delicate fairy of the woods in spring and summer, has now succumbed to the cold—the fronds turned brown, the essence of its living having safely retreated underground to winter over in the rhizomes.
These are just two of many different strategies of surviving winter, both successful enough that I know I’ll see the forest floor covered with these two ferns next spring! What a wonderful thought to have on a dark November morning.
I enjoy each season—for what I see in that moment while also remembering what I saw in the last and anticipating what I’ll see in the coming one. This cycle of living continually energizes me and the quietness of November is a great time to see that.
Great photos and commentary. Have a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving. Safe travels.