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January 2018, vol 13 no 4

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Jenny Ward Angyal

Genius Loci

Along the winding, wooded path, May apples hide their white petals under leaves like green umbrellas. Dwarf crested iris splash the stream bank with purple. And then a rustle in dry leaves draws my eye as a toad disappears into the duff. Her movement reveals two tiny clusters of rare ‘showy orchis’ – pixie flowers on stems barely two inches high, each bloom with a lavender hood and a snow-white tongue.

Two days later finds me trudging back and forth along the same stretch of trail, wishing I’d made better note of landmarks as I scan the base of every promising tree trunk for the elusive orchids. I’m about to give up when, just as before, a rustle in dry leaves draws my eye. The toad hops twice and vanishes against ridged tulip-poplar bark . . . but not before she’s shown me the magic blossoms once again.

to whatever spirit guide
is needed
at each moment
the mockingbird invents a song