Wednesday was the last day of winter. We went hiking and sketching with friends in 50+ degree sunshine at a nearby open space park. My heart warmed to see so many families outside connecting with nature during this stressful pandemic time. Pretty much everything is now closed except for nature.
The first day of spring came in with a snowstorm; big white flakes fluttered down Thursday and Friday, accumulating into eight inches on the ground — what a dramatic contrast to our sunny day before when we were out hiking with hundreds of families!
But, typical Colorado style, 24 hours later, the sun came out today, melting and changing the landscape again, providing needed moisture in our arid climate.
Kali and I always walk outside twice daily, usually wandering up the bike path near our house. Today, we had to stop in our co-housing community garden to admire the emerging crocus, the first colorful signs of spring.
Nature journaling has so many benefits — one is a good reason to stop and really look. I love how the leaves shelter and protect the vulnerable emerging flowers, like so many people are doing now to help others.
Looking Closer Stimulates my Curiosity
Back at home, I did a quick on-line search to learn a bit about crocus. I discovered crocus are in the Iris family and the species, Crocus sativus, is the origin of saffron. The most expensive spice in the world, one ounce of saffron requires more than 4,000 dried stigmas, harvested by hand! Saffron is used to flavor and color rice and has been used to dye textiles and hair in Roman times.*
The Crocus flower has three stamen. I’ll have to go back another day for a close-up sketch of the stamen and stigma (also known as a plant’s private parts).
Winter into spring is topsy-turvy this year. Unprecedented times. But I am heartened by the uplifting and cheerful crocus coming up in our garden.