Have you ever strolled through a forest after a rain and enjoyed the fresh scent of pine? An aroma simultaneously soothing and invigorating. A smell reminiscent of vacations spent in the mountains, or evening walks through groves of conifers in a city park.
A feature in DownEast – The Magazine of Maine, recently shared how balsam, fir, hemlock, spruce, pine, cedar infuse the air with their tonic of resinous scent after storms or showers.
It seems in the fleeting fraction of a second, when the raindrops hit the ground, they flatten into pancakes and trap miniscule bubbles that rise, pulling with them the smell of the needle-strewn ground beneath the trees and then burst, bathing the area in their own perfume.
Nature’s own atomizer.
This foamy flower is everywhere in the forest border this time of year. I have been familiar with it for a long time, but just learned, via this post by Brooklyn Botanic Garden that it was the culprit which caused “milk fever”, an ailment I had vaguely heard of and rather thought was caused by poison hemlock or some such plant.
It seems that if cows consume the various parts of this plant, humans can become ill from drinking their milk.
I understand from the information in the post that for some time after a Shawnee medicine woman revealed the cause of milk fever to a country doctor, people scoffed at the idea. Does this sound just a bit familiar to our pandemic situation today, in 2020?
Anyway, the story goes on to say that these days, milk from many dairy herds is combined when the drink is packaged for sale. Thus, if one herd of cows partook of snake root, the toxin will be sufficiently diluted so as not to cause harm. Interesting. Much easier than eradicating this prolific weed from every pasture.
I’ve never considered taking a bite of this plant, or feeding it to a bovine friend. I simply feast my eyes upon its blossoms – the ones that decorate the field behind our house and the border of the pond down the road.
I’ve always loved moss, since the days when I played under the majestic maple trees in front of our huge white farmhouse.
I built fairy abodes and residences for my Barbie dolls amid the crevices at the bases of the massive trunks. The apartments for these creatures formed by myth or Mattel, came with plush wall to wall carpeting of beautiful green moss.
Not a fan of shag rugs, into which crumbs pass, never to be seen again, though we know they are there, or really carpeting of any variety, I might change my mind if I could bring moss inside.