Over the weekend I got to see my first ever wild orchids! These are pink lady slippers (cypripedium acaule), a protected species in our area. The preserve where I saw them tracks its orchid population each year in a census.
One of the volunteers at the preserve was kind enough to help me find them, because they are only blooming in two spots right now. She showed me how to spot the tips of their new leaves so I didn’t step on any orchids-to-be while I moved around to take pictures. There were a lot of new shoots poking through the ground cover around these clusters, so I'm sure there will be plenty more beautiful orchids in bloom soon.
Sometimes I get frustrated with life in the South…there is a lot of cultural backwardness here that isn’t going to right itself anytime soon. But one thing I will say about Georgia is that it is full of surprises when it comes to nature. Who would have thought we’d have river otters here? Or wild orchids? Abundant waterfalls? Beautiful driftwood beaches? Or our own miniature Grand Canyon? When I moved back here after living in the Rocky Mountain wonderland of Colorado, I expected to be disappointed with my options for hiking and outdoor activities, and that has definitely not been the case. It's different, for sure, but full of its own understated kind of beauty.