LORI DUNN SCRATCHBOARD ART
promoting conservation through artistic efforts
The Silence of The Morning
11 x 14
There's an eerie silence in the forest on a misty spring morning. I'm searching for one of the region's most beloved plants. The forest floor is still a drab brown from the decayed leaves of the previous fall, but early wildflowers are poking up in spurts of green. I know I won't find what I'm looking for among the conifers so I head to a section comprised mainly of hardwood trees. There, in brilliant glory, are swaths of Trillium grandiflorum, their huge blooms heralding the morning sun like satellite beacons.
I'm amazed at how large the white trillium is. One of Canada's largest wildflowers, it's the sort of size you'd expect in a tropical setting, not here in the near boreal range, where flowers tend to be smaller and more compact. There's a reason these plants have such location specific groupings in the forest. They rely on ants to disperse seeds, which of course is not the most efficient way of gaining mileage. The seeds have a lipid rich structure attached to them that smells really good to ants and the insects carry them to their nests for consumption, leaving the important part of the seed intact to germinate. Yellow jacket wasps also are attracted and will disperse the seeds to some degree. To really achieve good genetic variability, however, the plant requires dispersal by white-tailed deer, which love feeding on the blooms and in turn, allows for germination in other sections of forest throughout the region.
I'm alone this time of year on the trail due to the uncanny swarms of mosquitoes, freshly emerged and desperate for any warm blooded host to happen by. Trying to fend off a thousand tiny pin pricks is futile. I endure, getting my camera gear ready and searching for some nice looking specimens to photograph. The mosquitoes engulf me and the camera. I have to keep swatting them away from the lens to avoid them photobombing my shots. I chose the morning sun to photograph this species so that the light would be low, and angled to one side. Keeping it slightly behind the blooms prevented the petals from appearing too washed out. This artwork is a compilation of 3 separate photos comprised into one composition. I remember doing little simplified doodles of this flower when I was a kid. It's remained a favorite plant that I look forward to seeing every spring.