I am Forest.
I am Life flowing in the River of Time
I cover the Rock, making it soft and green
I shelter the creatures who fly through my branches
Or make dens under my roots
I can die too easily.
In the early morning, as the sun peers over the bluffs, mist rises from the valley. Pink Redbuds paint the hillside, while Dogwood trees in full bloom look like white dots here and there in the distance. At least four different people from out of state asked what that "purple" tree was. The colors do tend to look different depending on the stage of the blossom. Early blossoms are a darker, more purple looking color, which lightens to pink as the blooms age and fall. They line the retaining wall along the parking lot at the lodge, and in the morning, a layer of pink "snow" coats the windows of your car. The infant leaflets emerge in many shades of pale green, interspersed with the dark green of hemlock and pine. In the forest are saplings with few branches, and one large bud with leaves slowly unwrapping. What are those? One person thinks it is a Shagbark Hickory, but there are no full grown Shagbarks nearby. Among the dead leaves on the forest floor we find some large leaf Magnolias, which grow in the Appalachians. I vote for the Magnolias. Slender Pawpaw trees have blossoms hanging like umbrellas as they grow in small groves in the understory.