With the afternoon temperature sitting at 59 degrees Fahrenheit here, I'm remembering another early winter thaw decades ago. On that January 19, we drove out to a field that adjoined a steep bank near Drake's Creek in Kentucky.
We parked there, and walked along the sunny bank, enjoying the mild air and poking around in the gullies that the heavy rains had made. We were looking for surfaced flint points, left by the Woodland Indians who had lived in the area some 200 years or so ago. And there I found a little woodland violet in the tangled weeds that lined one gulley's lip.
I didn't have a camera with me. But the memory of that astonishingly early violet has stayed sharp in my memory all these years. It's rare to be this warm in January, even as far south as Tennessee and Kentucky.
Indeed, this violet that I photographed on St. Patrick's Day in 2008, in my Nashville back yard, was an early bloomer in its own right.
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