Before the Return of Leaves

Today I went for a much needed walk at Hemlock Bluffs, a nature preserve near my home. I love the woods at this, my favorite time of year, when the sun is high enough in the heavens to have promise, but the spring leaves haven't all sprouted yet. The sun streaming through the trees creates an other-worldly atmosphere, and vistas unseen at leafy times of year, unfold before you. Inspiration galore.

Deborah Younglao, Hemlock Bluffs woods in spring
Sun shining through beech trees form drops of gold...

Deborah Younglao, Hemlock Bluffs woods in spring

...and painted shadows

Deborah Younglao, Hemlock Bluffs woods in spring
Deborah Younglao, Hemlock Bluffs woods in spring
Deborah Younglao, Hemlock Bluffs woods in spring

Persistent green...

Deborah Younglao, Hemlock Bluffs woods in spring

...and evidence of new life catch the eye

Deborah Younglao, Hemlock Bluffs woods in spring

Trees felled by Hurricane Fran in '96...
Deborah Younglao, Hemlock Bluffs woods in spring
...make interesting sculptures
Deborah Younglao, Hemlock Bluffs woods in spring
Deborah Younglao, Hemlock Bluffs woods in spring
"Look Ma, I made it through winter!"
What's YOUR favorite time of year?