“The Flowers Bloom Like Madness in the Spring”

11 April, 2013    “The Flowers Bloom Like Madness in the Spring”

That’s a line lifted from the title track of the 1971 Jethro Tull album Aqualung. I was at Pony Pasture this fine April morning with Mackey and Turner and the flowers were blooming like madness everywhere we turned. The first picture I took wasn’t a flower at all. It was this brand new pawpaw sprouting from the riverbank:

A brand new pawpaw

A brand new pawpaw

We only walked a little farther when we stepped into a riot of wildflowers. Most striking was this daffodil. They’re nearly finished, but you could tell it was feeling great in that cool morning sun:

Getting my fill of daffodils while I can

Getting my fill of daffodils while I can

If I’d sat down in front of that patch of daffodils I could have reached out and touched this:

There was only one kind of flower at the river today - the beautiful kind

There was only one kind of flower at the river today – the beautiful kind

And this:

Same kind as identified in the previous picture

Same kind as identified in the previous picture

And this:

See what I mean? They're all the same.

See what I mean? They’re all the same.

I didn’t sit down, of course – I kept walking. The flowers were still blooming like madness. We hadn’t walked two more minutes when we encountered this patch. I should have backed away to show the size of the patch – a 4’ x 8’ sheet of plywood couldn’t cover it. But this was a cheerful corner:

A colorful corner

A colorful corner

Some people think I don’t obsess on things. I don’t obsess on a lot of things but when I do I go overboard. Which I suppose is why they call it obsessing. I thought these redbuds were never going to appear. Redbuds are a flower on a tree, not a flower like a daffodil or a violet. But what a relief when I walked out in the field at PP this morning and finally saw them:

So, so fresh.

So, so fresh.

They’re quite small, by the way. A fully mature redbud flower is not larger than a pea. You don’t get an idea of the size from that picture.

I’ve been doing the same hike at PP for close to fifteen years now, typically twice a week, year round. I take the same route each time. It’s about 2.5 miles long and takes an hour, more or less. I always take the same route for a few reasons. It covers most of the park for one. If the dogs get lost, they always know where to find me is another. Third, I don’t have to think – it’s much easier to meditate when you can just saunter. Anyone who has ever done that walk with me knows that just after the field at PP I take a left into a beautiful little pine grove. The grove is small but the trees are large. There were a handful of flowers there too, but this bright display was what really caught my eye:

THAT is one handsome bird.

THAT is one handsome bird.

I’m not a huge perfectionist, but there are a couple of things I don’t like about that image. I don’t like that I cut the tip off his tail. And I don’t like that branch in front of him. But the pose is unusual, and his red looks spectacular with those fresh green leaves and the gray bark and the pale blue of the out-of-focus sky in the background. Somehow that picture just worked for me. I hope you enjoy it too.

Except for that handsome guy, this walk and this blog post were more flora than fauna. But in addition to that cardinal I did see at least one more nice looking animal:

I've put pictures of smiling dogs up here before. He's Mackey's sure smiling in this one.

I’ve put pictures of smiling dogs up here before. Mackey’s sure smiling in this one.

I got one last picture on the way out, a pretty bluebell. This picture is lower quality than I normally like to put up; I’ll get a better one soon. But bluebells are so pretty:

Beautiful bluebell

Beautiful bluebell

I have song lyrics running through my head all the time, and Evie suggested I include some in my posts. When I was thinking about my next post, I was thinking about a different song. Then I got to PP and all I could think was “The flowers bloom like madness in the spring.” Aqualung is not a cheerful song or album but that line was right on target for this morning.

Have a great day,


About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
This entry was posted in Dogs, Flowers, Fun, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!). Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to “The Flowers Bloom Like Madness in the Spring”

  1. evzakyoga says:

    Beautiful! And I KNOW you rubbed all that muddy water off Mackey! Excellent for everyone! xo

    Evelyn http://www.evelynzak.com

  2. Did Mackey get muddy water on him today? I hadn’t noticed. I’ll check and get back to you. Thanks for pointing it out! Have a great day, xoxo,


  3. Andrew W. Meiller says:

    Great pics! I am so happy that spring has sprung. Drew had soccer yesterday afternoon and walking onto the beautiful green field on a warm afternoon was awesome.

  4. Glad you enjoyed the pics! I think we’re all happy spring has finally sprung. This winter just didn’t seem to want to let go. Soccer with Drew must have been a blast. The grass is so fresh and nice this time of year that every field is beautiful. I hope Drew had a great game! Take it easy,


  5. Pingback: PP Flora | NEWFAZE

  6. Wade Elmer says:

    Amazing coincidence I grew up near the rapids and I distinctly remember singing Aqualung on James river with my friend when I was 15 years old. The album came out 50 years ago today!! No wait that means I’m 65 Yikes!!!

    • That river has heard LOTS of singing across the millennia. It’s probably not hearing Aqualung as often as it used to. I often sing “Take me to the river” when I’m hiking down there. I must have an awesome voice, because the river never complains. That’s one of my favorite things about the river!

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