10 - Early Fiddleheads (original oil painting, 5 x 7 in, framed)
26 April finds me checking out the patch of Ostrich Fern fiddleheads at the bridge on Actons Corners Road, east of Burritts Rapids, Ontario. I made my way down the wooded bank, through the muck left from the spring flooding, and onto the creekside flats, skirting the prickly arching canes of Raspberry and watching for last year's Ostrich Fern fertile fronds, tall, narrow blackish clubs that always flag a fiddlehead patch. At first I thought that I was too early, that I would find no green knobs curling up from their shaggy nests in the crowns of the raised cones that are their old accumulation of each year's leaf bases. I stepped on a few of these firm lumps, hidden under dry frond stems and sprouting Nettles, lurched to regain my footing, winced, and apologized to the ferns in case I'd damaged their embryonic fiddleheads.