Exciting Sighting | Finding Fringed Polygala at Tanglewood

I always love finding new flowers to photograph. Something I have never seen before always piques my interest. Several years ago I saw these tiny little purple flowers growing along the edge of the woods where we live.

I started photographing them and looking for them every year. And the flowers returned every year. Always blooming in the same little area of the woods. Never seeming to spread.

I assumed these flowers grow other places than just where I live, but I never saw them anywhere else. It was kind of like having my own little private flower garden no one else could see. It was so strange to never see these flowers anywhere else. They don’t bloom very long and I am not sure there is anything identifiable above ground to know where they are growing when the flowers are not in bloom.

Fringed Polygala: Tanglewood Nature Center

Eventually during my photographic study of these flowers I was able to look them up and identify them as Fringed Polygala. So at least I had a name to these elusive little flowers.

Then, finally it happened. I went out for a hike this year at one of my favorite places, Tanglewood Nature Center. I wanted to hike my favorite trail, the red loop. And the plan was to just take it slow and enjoy myself. Look around. Observe nature and photograph anything and everything that interested me. And I made good on that. Spending nearly 3 hours on the trail and taking over 700 photos.

I decided to hike the loop in the opposite direction from the way I normally go. I normally finish a hike or run on the red trail by going up the steep climb that leads back to the main facilities at Tanglewood. Today I started by going down that steep section. Descending down into the valley.

Fringed Polygala: Tanglewood Nature Center

I was inspired to go on this hike because on my recent runs around this loop I had noticed a lot of wildflowers growing right in and along the trails. Flowers I don’t remember noticing before. So I made it a point to return specifically to photograph them.

I was happy to see many of these flowers I had seen on previous trips around the trails still here, plus many more. I walked, bent, hunched, crouched, kneeled, squatted, and sat. Moving so slowly but taking a lot of photos. Before too long as I made my way down the trail I saw the purple flowers.

The tiny, unusually shaped, beautiful purple flowers growing along the trail. I was so happy to see these little flowers on this trail. Finding one of my favorite flowers along one of my favorite trails was perfect synergy. All the things we do in life working to create a confluence of events. It made me so happy to know there was someplace else these tiny little flowers grow so nearby to me. Have you seen them? Where do you find them growing?

Fringed Polygala: Tanglewood Nature Center

I am so thankful that on this day I decided to go around the trail in the opposite direction than I normally do. If I was coming to the end of a long slow hike and I was climbing up that steep hill getting ready to go home, there is a good chance I would have overlooked these tiny little flowers. I would have been too tired from climbing the trail, or mentally exhausted from all the photography work, or in a hurry and ready to get home and just completely overlooked them. That section along the trail is the only place I saw them that day.

I wonder if I have never seen them before because I just haven’t normally gotten outside as much this time of year in the past. But this year I have been more motivated and inspired to get outside every day thanks to Melanie at Onward: An Ongoing Hiking Story. So maybe I owe this fortuitous occurrence to my friend Melanie.

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