Fog happens, and the woods rise into it.

The overlook at Green’s View offered an interesting prospect this morning. The hundred mile view was shortened by the enveloping cloud to less than one hundred feet.

fogThe fog penetrated the forest, hazing and graying views through the trees.

fog2The smell was deliciously tenebrous, seeping into the dim air from the darkness of the soil. Shrews and moles must inhale the same rich earthiness as they burrow.

Although we imagine springtime coming from elsewhere, a warm breeze blowing birds and warmth from the tropics, in reality most of the year’s new life rises from the musty earth, surging through layers of decay.

The first significant signs of this life have now appeared in Shakerag Hollow. Harbinger-of-spring (also called salt-and-pepper plant, Erigenia bulbosa, a carrot relative with an edible tuber) has raised hundreds of tiny blooms over the mountainside, each one standing barely taller than the upper surface of the leaf litter.

harbinger of spring1

harbinger of springFungi are also poking through, spreading their spores from colored cups.

cup1cuo2And the animal world is alive. Hairy woodpeckers call, perhaps starting their  breeding season. Orange centipedes lumber across the litter, seeking prey into which to sink their poisoned fangs. Spiders, although withdrawn in their hiding places, have their presence revealed by the foggy air. Every web is a bright cloud of droplets. In some places, funnel-web spiders had strewn the forest floor with dozens of newly constructed traps.

funnelLeaves of toothwort, spring beauty, bloodroot and trillium were unfurling, but their flowers were not yet emerged. Soon, though, the smouldering wet soil will blaze.

13 thoughts on “Fog happens, and the woods rise into it.

  1. klgaddy

    These photos are amazing, because they’re of a stage of early Spring when we’re not necessarily looking for beauty in the woods. There is a lot of gray and brown, but you’ve found these bright signs of life.
    I see you’ve recently published a book, but might you be interested in submitting some of your photography and writing to a new magazine based in Central Illinois?
    In Vivo: Humanities, Sciences & Ecologies is looking for submissions of all kinds focused on social and environmental issues. Our mission is to gather together more experienced photographers and writers like yourself and publish them alongside newer (sometimes student) artists.
    More information is available here: and at
    -Kristina Gaddy Mulpura

    1. David George Haskell Post author


      Thank you for visiting this blog. I’m glad that you enjoyed the photos. In Vivo sounds like a great project. I am completely swamped at the moment, but let me see what ideas might emerge for a submission. What is the deadline?

      With best wishes, David


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