Ferns have always been among my most beloved woodland finds. They’re so elegantly organized, each frond curving politely out of the way of the one below. In drifts, they can transform a dark wood into a golden parlor, sunbeams bouncing off that emerald carpet, softer than shag, and back up into the canopy above.
A few years ago, I happened upon an exhibition print of “Ferns, Mount Rainier National Park” by Ansel Adams. I knew then that I had to make my own fern image, one that does it justice. I’m getting there.
If I ever leave Florida again, I think what I would miss most is the Sabal Palm, known to some as the Cabbage Palm. Admittedly, there are more elegant palms here, but for me the Sabal is the most expressive. It looks a bit like a cross between a giraffe and Red Fraggle, but in a good way. In spite of its seeming fragility, it has evolved to deal with the periodic pounding of tropical storms. It is exuberant, dancing to the beat of its own drummer – standing tall or twisting and bending in response to some unseen influence, occasionally hugging tightly to a nearby oak.
I can see a line of arching Sabal Palms from my pillow. The palms come close to our screened porch, not quite touching it but leaning in gracefully and in unison. At first light, I can hear squirrels scampering across their crowns, so close together are they. On these spring nights when the doors to the screened porch are flung wide, the palms transport me far south to some balmy and untouched tropical island and I fall asleep to the sound of softly rustling fronds.