Green is the color of spring: fresh, poking out of the ground, drinking in the light, green. Even in the Evergreen State we look for the new tips on the end of trees, the exuberant dandelions dotting our lawns, and the lush growth sprouting on every side. My honeysuckle vines are like thickets reaching for the sun. Buds are opening and spreading their sticky nascent leaves on every bush. We rejoice in the new season.
We have a favorite place to walk that is but a short distance from home. It is a nearby ravine that has been set aside as a park with a simple trail system, one bench for contemplation, and steps leading in and for scrambling out. It has a nice variety of trees and undergrowth, a swampy reed-filled area replete with frogs, and steep sides that volunteers are exhausting themselves to clear of suffocating ivy.
And it is here along the trail that I look, not for more green, but for a very special flash of white. This is where trilliums appear each spring like magic from some other realm. We’ve been going for weeks, looking and looking, and growing anxious by their absence. Has the ivy choked them out of existence? Finally, finally, we found one, then another and another! Oh joy. It was like feeling the Earth turning on its axis as it should be.
We were content. The walk home was a more comfortable one. The sky was a rare blue. And suddenly we saw another flash of white, this one high up in a large fir tree that still shades Margaret’s house as it has for decades, which we pass along our way. No trillium this. This brilliant white was the head of an eagle surveying the neighborhood. It was perched on a protruding branch from where it could launch itself to circle over the houses and do a turn over Capitol Lake.
Eagles have lived on the edge of the lake for years but they are not often seen. Sometimes they appear as shapes seen high in the sky, calling with their eerie cries, but this one posed on that branch for as long as we passed by. Bright white against the dark tree.
Green is the color of spring, but twice that day, white was the color we admired, that brought gasps of delight.