Given that I’ve always found spiritual and emotional healing in the plant life natural world, I begin a series of posts dedicated to springtime wildflowers. The flowers of spring symbolize many different things to many people, but with recurring themes of healing, rebirth, and resurrection. The ephemerals, the springtime flowers appearing in the earliest months of spring, often fade and die by late spring. Yet, their short lives carry the promise they will re-emerge in February or March of next spring.
Trout Lilies are the earliest flowers in Georgia, the ones in the photo were blooming in early February. Their mottled leaves resemble brook trout in shape and color and they are often found near streams. Their blooming also indicates the beginning of trout season. They form expansive colonies which can be up to 300 years old, though individual plants die off each year in May or June. They are a threatened species throughout much of their range, so please do not pick or dig them!
In the genus Trillium, which includes the Great White Trillium of rich Appalachian woodlands, Toadshades are not the most glamorous flower. The humble Toadshade does not have much going for it, neither in appearance nor smell (like rancid meat). Yet, my heart is always cheered by the mottled, leathery leaves of Toadshades when I’m on springtime hikes. They remind me that every living thing comes from Goddess-Birthgiver, and each life should always grow to be the best it can be. Some old-timers in Appalachia regard Trilliums as symbols of the Trinity, since their petals, sepals, and leaves all occur in threes. Trillium species have been used medicinally, often as an antiseptic for eye or ear infections. Some Native American women have used Trillium roots to treat complications of menstruation and childbirth.
Since my late teens, I’ve found both spiritual inspiration and emotional resilience from observing nature. Too often in my youth, I felt alienated from human society and it’s arbitrary rejection of “different” individuals. Yet, the exuberant diversity of nature assured me that a world within an Unnamed Divine existed beyond the narrow world of petty human bigotry and domination systems.