to whole handfuls of jewels

5.11.21 ~ Haley Farm State Park
Groton, Connecticut

What a gorgeous day for a walk! First we strolled through a meadow full of blooming buttercups…

a sea of buttercups
brown-headed cowbird

Even though Brown-headed Cowbirds are native to North America, many people consider them a nuisance bird, since they destroy the eggs and young of smaller songbirds and have been implicated in the decline of several endangered species.
~ All About Birds website

path leading uphill to a forest
“the smallest leaf”

Nature will bear the closest inspection; she invites us to lay our eye level with the smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain. She has no interstices; every part is full of life.
~ Henry David Thoreau
(Excursions)

“an insect view”
Tim looking out

We climbed until we reached the lookout indicated on the map.

looking back down at the meadow
Chester Cemetery from above

Wouldn’t you know it, we spotted a tiny cemetery right below the lookout. We kept following the trail hoping to find a way down there. A man about our age came up behind us, noticed my camera and asked if I had spotted anything. I mentioned the gravestones and he led us along the path and pointed us to another path and gave us directions on how to get there.

more small details
the woods seemed to go on forever
“just as bright, just as blue, just as green”

To-day is very beautiful — just as bright, just as blue, just as green and as white and as crimson as the cherry-trees full in bloom, and half-opening peach-blossoms, and the grass just waving, and sky and hill and cloud can make it, if they try. How I wish you were here, Austin; you thought last Saturday beautiful, yet to this golden day ’twas but one single gem to whole handfuls of jewels.
~ Emily Dickinson
(Letter to William Austin Dickinson, May, 1854)

for my snagged oak leaf collection
unfurling
on and on we walked

It was a long way around but we finally came to the side path leading off to the right and to the cemetery. Much to my delight there was a “wolf tree” on the corner.

one side of the wolf tree

For an explanation of wolf trees see this post: snow melting in the oak-beech forest

Chester Cemetery

Sacred
to the memory of
Starr Chester Esqr.
who was born
Aug 23rd 1759
and died
Feby 12th 1812

This spot contains the ashes of the just
who sought to honour; and betray’d no trust.
This truth he prov’d in every line he trod.

Sacred
to the memory of
Mary Chester
relect of
Starr Chester, Esqr.
Born Nov 11, 1758
Died Jan 12, 1826
May faithful angels guard my moulding dust
until the general meeting of the just.
Then rise triumphant from the dark abode
to realms of light, to love and praise the Lord.

Since I have both Starrs and Morgans (Mary’s maiden name) on my tree I imagine these are distant cousins of mine…

While inspecting the stones two unusual things happened. First, a young man appeared above us at the lookout with a dirt bike. He rode off the edge of the precipice, flew through the air and landed a few feet away from us. As if he did such things all the time, as I’m sure he does.

the other side the wolf tree

Another retired couple was a little ways down another path and saw the flight, too. We got to talking and stood there for at least half an hour chatting about all kinds of things. They moved here from Pennsylvania to retire. They love the area, close to the sea. They’ve explored many of the same parks we’ve been exploring.

After we parted ways, we finished following the other trail, stopping to see the wolf tree as we joined it. When we got close to the car I heard and finally spotted another catbird. 🙂 What a lovely ending to a pleasant ramble!

gray catbird

29 thoughts on “to whole handfuls of jewels”

  1. Meow….. Don’t you just love the Catbird’s teasing?!! Lovely adventure you both took, Barbara, great to get outdoors and soak up some of those warmer sunrays! Love the buttercups, they remind me of my childhood. 🙂

    1. Buttercups take me back to my childhood, too. 🙂 Talk about catbirds teasing — yesterday one landed on my balcony, first time ever, and stayed there vocalizing for the longest time. When I finally decided to get my camera he took off. Grrrr…

        1. Indeed! 🤣 This one seemed to be a bit of a busybody but I do hope he returns with some more “news.” And, hopefully he didn’t see much happening here in this unit to share with the neighbors. 😉

  2. It is si fun to follow you on. your trips.I enjoy the collection of trapped oak leaves. Silly and Precious.. My small garden in front of my house is brimful with blue scilla and white wood anemones. I miss the yellow seas, it will come later here in Norway

    1. It’s always nice to have you along on our little hikes, Leelah. 🙂 I always know you will appreciate things like trapped oak leaves. 😉 Your garden sounds lovely — your scilla must be like our bluebells. I love wood anemones, too. Spring has such bright colors!

  3. Beautiful photos of newborn leaves! I have never heard the term “wolf tree” before and I’m so glad to know it. Thank you for taking me on your journey today.

    1. Thank you, Anna! So happy you enjoyed the journey. I had never heard of wolf trees until December, when I read about them on the Poquetanuck Cove Preserve webpage. Now I’m noticing them everywhere, especially near old stone walls that used to border now abandoned fields.

  4. Such a lovely walk — thanks for letting me tag along via your photo essay, Barbara! I’m enamored of those buttercups, and I love the way the sunlight filters through the leaves of that (Aspen???) tree!

    1. Thank you, Debbie! It was lovely having you along for the walk in the meadow and the woods. The buttercup meadow was an unexpected treat. 🙂 I’m pretty sure those are American beech leaves. The sunlight was incredible that day!

        1. You’re welcome! Likewise, I’m not that familiar with Aspens. I remember driving around town with my father collecting leaves for my middle school leaf project. Happy memories…

          1. Indeed! My dad used to warn me to collect them *before* they all dropped off during Autumn. How I wish I hadn’t been such a procrastinator!

          2. The many lessons we learned about nature while spending quality time with our fathers. 💙

  5. I just love all the signs of Spring Barbara – the leaf unfurling, the buttercups especially. I remember grabbing some in the meadow where we played and bringing them home to my mom. I never see buttercups anymore – they are so bright and cheery looking. You were lucky to find that old graveyard as well. It’s nice when someone points you in the direction of something you might have missed. The photos were wonderful and the quotes were spot on for this post.

    1. The meadow full of buttercups was such a pleasant surprise. I bet your mom was delighted with her bouquet of them. They seem so full of happiness! 💙 So far this year I haven’t seen any bluets — do you have those in your area? I was also pleasantly surprised by how many people we encountered out there in the woods. Usually we don’t see anybody or rarely maybe one or two people. It’s a fun challenge finding the quotes — Google Books sees a lot of me. 🙂

      1. I used to bring them home and she’d make a production of arranging them in a vase (usually an old jam or pickle jar). 🙂 Life was simple then wasn’t it Barbara? I just Googled bluets and yes we do – I didn’t know the name of them. I do intend to buy a wildflower book, so I can I.D. those flowers I see in the woods. People are feeling more comfortable now I guess and that was probably just before the CDC’s changes to the mask mandate. I saw my first hummingbird of the year … pretty sure it is the same one as last year which I named “Hope” and I was on my way to go grocery shopping so I didn’t stop and get her feeder washed etc. but will tomorrow as I think she was chastising me for not putting it out yet. I just popped onto Google Books where I have never been. I really need to explore Google more.

        1. Somehow old jam or pickle jars seem like the only appropriate vessels for wildflower bouquets. 😉 Mothers know these things… You better hurry up and get things ready for Hope before she seeks out a more reliable restaurant! I do like to check Google Books to make sure the quotes I use are accurate — it’s amazing how many misquotes one can find online. My newest discovery is Audible, which my daughter encouraged me to try. I’ve been having so much trouble with floaters that it’s been a chore to read lately. Now I can close my eyes and have someone read to me. I love it!

          1. Yes they are appropriate for wildflower bouquets (and toting home tadpoles from the creek too … back in the day of course). You, as a mom, likely were just as indulgent. I hear Audible advertised on the radio and it sounds wonderful to me. A very relaxing way to enjoy a book.

          2. Barbara – I forgot to mention that I had Hope’s feeder out this morning before I left and I didn’t see her today. Because of this extreme heat wave we are having, I can’t tell if it will be her sipping or evaporation when the level goes down. In this heat, I’ll have to change it in two days … this is July-type weather! I have a female squirrel I’ve been feeding and now that I regularly put peanuts on the corner of the porch, she has brought a friend (or her mate) and I had another squirrel do this before. I will return from walking and the peanuts are eaten and here she comes again looking ever so cute and begging. If I go out for the mail later in the day, she comes down the tree lickedy-split and across the street. I’ve created a monster I think. 🙂

          3. Happy to hear that Hope’s feeder is up and running. Hopefully you’ll see her partaking soon. The “monster” you created sounds adorable! 🙂 I bet you’ll have a lot of fun this summer, in spite of the heat.

    1. Those buttercups were such a delightful surprise, Robin! My whole being is still stirring with the memory of them… 🙂

  6. A sea of buttercups…and a wolf tree…and so much beautiful spring nature to enjoy. I haven’t seen any buttercups around here yet, but there are sweet dandelions and violets. Have been downstate to see my mom–finally! after 18 months–and am settling back at home now. So good to read what you’ve been up to.

    1. Dandelions and violets must be very welcome signs of spring for you out there in snow country! I’m so happy you were finally reunited with your mom!!! I can well imagine the joyful hugs and endless conversations… My grandchildren are finally here after 18 months, too. Still shedding tears of happiness… Hugs and little voices, our home is full of life.

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