Daily Archives: June 5, 2020

An abundance of Lady Slippers

You will want to view this as large as your device allows. 🙂 There is a poem:

I met a man out on one of my rambles
today who told me that if I just went
on out past the pond (where I seldom
go), and looked along on the left there,
down into the woods, I would find a
big patch of Lady Slipper Orchids.
“Has to be a hundred of them,” he said.
I took it as your typical Maine exaggeration,
but as I had nothing more pressing to
accomplish than checking on the
progress of early dragon and damselflies
around the pond, I thought, “why not”
and headed out there. It was further out
than I thought, but when I found the place
it was unmistakable. Not a hundred…
more like five hundred, Lady Slippers,
maybe even a thousand (and that is no
Maine exaggeration), though they were hard
to count among the trees and scattered
over a long thin rectangle of open woods,
maybe three hundred by a hundred feet,
as the slope slopes off down to the
brook among the big trees. I have never
seen anything to match it, Lady Slipper
wise. Some of the clumps were a dozen
blossoms or more, and some of the plants
were eighteen inches tall…big healthy
looking flowers, rich rose pink, delicately
veined, even in the half light of a cloudy
day under the canopy of tall maples, pines
and oaks. I took a lot of photos, of clumps
and individual blossoms, and of patches
were I could find a line of sight, but it was
impossible to capture even a little bit
of the impression of so may Lady Slippers,
so tall, so pink, all in such a small piece
of woods. Only on the way back did I
think of video. I could have maybe caught
it better with some pans and zooms over
a few moments as I moved about. Ah well.
The light was not great anyway. Gives me
a reason to go back out there the next
sunny day if we have one soon. I feel a bit
ashamed now of wining about not being
able to get into Rachel Carson for my Lady
Slipper fix…who knew the creator had such
a splendor of Lady Slippers up that sleeve?
And I will be forever grateful to the unknown
man who took the time to tell me to keep
walking and keep looking left and down.

And I did go back for the video, which came out okay, though I am not sure it catches any more of the impression of all those Lady Slippers. 🙂

Sony Rx10iv at 24mm equivalent (video at about 80mm equivalent).

I am generally more specific with the location of my photos (and poems), but I have gone back and edited out all location info in this post and the poem. Not far from this patch there used to be patch growing the shade of a large pine on the edge of the pond, an unusual place to find them growing. This year, sometime in the past week, someone dug out every one of those plants, and left the empty holes. Lady Slippers are listed as a plant of “special concern” in Maine, grow very slowly and should not be dug up for transplant. In addition, they live in a symbiotic relationship with a fungus in a very particular type of soil, so chances of successful transplanting are very slim. Please. Leave them be!