Trout Lilies

By Ginny MacDonald

May 8, 2023

Trout Lilies

I want to tell Allie that the trout lilies are up. That wood frogs are chuckling where the marsh marigolds shove their leaves through the mud. The sandhill cranes are back, the geese, the ducks, innumerable brown and grey birds peep and chatter. All the things that were meant to come back, came back.

I want to let Allie know that the autumn leaves were beautiful when she left, and now the trees are budding out in every green. The days are long again, and I showed her kids where the wild strawberries bloom. The growing is so quick and condensed up here. I wouldn’t need to tell her that. She loved these north woods. Her children love them, too. They know the yellow birch, the wintergreen, how to keep their boots on in the mud.

I think Allie knew that her kids would be all right. We all are all right. The people she loved felt the leaves fall, we watched the snow fall, and now here is spring with trout lilies. Then will come the spring beauties, ginseng, star flowers, jack in the pulpit, lady slippers, jewel weed: all the blooms whose names I didn’t know before she taught me. And everywhere along this path, forget-me-nots.


Ginny MacDonald lives in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. She grows vegetables in poor soil during a short season. Her writing has appeared in Brevity, Diagram, Hobart, Matchbook, and elsewhere.

Image by Kathy courtesy of AdobeStock

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