Spring arrives this weekend and it's a perfect time to take a really close look at the nature around us. Whether it's a tiny patch of moss, a hardy clump of sagebrush or a wide stretch of rainforest, the Pacific Northwest offers an abundance of green — especially in the spring.
This weekend is the spring equinox — the day when the sun is directly above the equator and day and night are the same length. It’s a brief moment of balance before days start getting longer. It’s also a time when the green of the Pacific Northwest really shines. Depending upon where you live, you might already have lots of green, or it might just be starting to show in little, sheltered corners.
Right now is an ideal time to take a hike for the sole purpose of admiring the greenery — and the especially vivid colors of spring. Even just a walk around your block or a trip to a nearby greenspace will give you a chance to observe and celebrate the changing seasons.
And when you’re back, let us know what you saw in a trip report. (If you just walk around your neighborhood, you can even write a trip report for that! We love to see them.)
Here are some photos of greenery to inspire you to do your own exploration.
"I was hiking with my kids on Lookout Mountain on our way to see a waterfall," photographer Aaron Tiger wrote. "As we were hiking my daughter noticed this hanging leaf and for fun we pretended that she was holding it up by magic. I took a couple of pictures while she said, 'Leviosa.' These are the kinds of moments that keep our kids coming back to the wild places, when we can share the 'magic' of exploring new forests and trails."
Photographer Chris Zempel captured these young ferns uncurling on the Lake 22 trail. This time of year is a great time to look at ferns. Depending upon the species of fern, you may still see last year's growth, which will likely have a darker, deeper green. New growth starts out as tiny little curls before opening up wide. If you see ferns that have old growth from last year, try looking close to see if new growth is popping up yet. It can be fun to watch a single clump of ferns change throughout the year.
Photographer Ben Carlson took this intimate photos of moss at Bloedel Preserve on Bainbridge Island. You could spend hours just exploring a single patch of moss. If you have one, a magnifying glass or hand-lens can be a great way to get a closer look at the world of mosses. And if you're a big moss fan, consider the book "Gathering Moss" by Robin Wall Kimmerer is a beautiful and educational read.
Shelby Koch made this stunning image of sagebrush near Ephrata. Shrub steppe and desert aren't known for their green, but you'll find it if you look. In spring, of course, the land will be greener than at most times of year. But all year round, you'll be able to admire the silvery green color of sagebrush.
Barbara Burgess paused on a trip on Highway 14 near Lyle to capture these lovely blooming balsamroot. While spring flowers often catch all of the attention with their showy colors, they also grow amid the many vivid greens of spring.
A moment for mindfulness
Looking for greenery is a wonderful, simple way to practice mindfulness. If you're looking for more ways to slow down a cultivate a bit more awareness, here are some more ideas.