|Saint Edward State Park - South Canyon Trail - Lainey Piland photo|
"But in the midst of a gentle rain... I was suddenly sensible of such sweet and beneficent society in Nature, in the very pattering of the drops, and in every sight and sound around my house, an infinite and unaccountable friendliness all at once, like an atmosphere, sustaining me..."
-Henry David Thoreau, Walden
These favorite words from Thoreau have been coming to mind frequently during the past few weeks, as the green blush of spring washes over the landscape. I can feel the meaning of those words as I listen to the robin singing heartily outside my window; as I drive home from work and witness the evening sunlight stretching across the valley, illuminating hillsides that are vibrantly green with newly-sprouted bigleaf maple and cottonwood leaves; as I smell the sweet tree pollen wafting in the warm, rain-cleansed air... the entire world just feels happy, and I can't help but pick up on the sentiment.
I visited Saint Edward State Park last weekend, for the first time in many months. It was late afternoon, and after admiring the delicate little forest flowers blooming along the trail, I turned to look behind me, in the direction I'd just come from, and couldn't help but gasp. From my shaded vantage point, the salmonberry thicket in the ravine below was glowing in an otherworldly way as sunlight shone through the open canopy above and set those chlorophyll-rich leaves aflame. Everything felt sweet and peaceful; the world was smiling and full and friendly.
If there ever was "an atmosphere sustaining me," this scenery - this season - is surely it!