I suppose to remain semantically correct, the objects in these photos are correctly called “catkins” and not “pussy willows”. Technically, pussy willows are catkins but not all catkins are pussy willows. Now that I’ve managed to make that uncomfortably difficult, here are a couple photos I took today of brand new catkins just beginning to form on a Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides) just up the road.
Another name for this tree is “Trembling Aspen” which refers to to its leaves which flutter in the slightest breeze. I probably shouldn’t mention that an aboriginal name for the trembling aspen translates as “women’s tongue” or “noisy leaf”… no, I knew better than to mention that.
While I was walking this afternoon in a deep canyon the sun came out very briefly and illuminated the firs and cedars on the south side of the trail, showing off their greenery in a splendid fashion. Being a little slow on the uptake, I got the camera out just a tad too late for the colorful shot. However…
On the other side of the trail, growing among the ice clumps on the steep, north-facing slope of the canyon in a place that never, even in mid summer, receives the direct rays of the sun, was a large patch of lichens, with bright colors of their own: I tentatively identified three of them as club lichens.
It was so good to see a bit of blue sky today over the Coeur d’Alenes. January has largely been a dark gray month here. There was blue sky on the 6th and 8th and a little blue showing through a week ago.