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SUBMITTED by Kate Chamberlin (1-Feb-2010)

It was a warm, sunny, Sunday one day in May when I harnessed up my guide dog and went on a wildflower hike with Mark De Cracker and about 20 other devotee hikers of Trail Works, Inc. He didn’t mention anything about tripping and stumbling through acres of corn field stubble to…Well, maybe I should begin at the beginning.

Wayne County Wildflower hike with Trail Works on 3 May 2009

As you may know, one of Mark’s e-mail addresses is “VideoMark”, because he is rarely without a still or video camera. He takes them everywhere and shoots frames with the eye of an artist. One series he has is called “Three Days in May, chronicling the lovely little wildflowers in the meadows, acid bog, and the drumlin woods. He did a presentation of “Three Days in May” to his mother’s Col. Wm. Prescott Chapter of the NSDAR and I was there.

Now, as you may surmise, I am totally blind, so as each slide popped onto the screen, he explained the site to the group while a friend of mine tried to fill-in the picture for me. As I heard the descriptions, I found that my mind wandered back to the home my family lived in during my high school years. It was a large tract of land, sandwiched in-between the flood plains of the Des Planes River and Deerfield, IL. It was called Riverwoods and, although, the dirt roads were all named after liquors (I lived on Scotch Lane and my best friend lived on Sherry Lane.), the meadows, woods, and ditches were full of wildflowers.

I walked a mile just to get to my school bus stop…well, no it wasn’t up-hill both ways, I did have proper shoes, and my Mother would drive me during the winter months. The rest of the year, I went through the woodland paths with its Trillium, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, skunk cabbage, and a wonderful host of other spring, summer, and fall beauties. I could once again see their slender stalks, smell the fragrance of old decaying leaves and new life springing up, not to mention hearing the twitter-pated little birds, raucous caws of the crows. And, Occasionally, I’d chew a snip of wild mint, just in case my favorite beau came by in his car to give me a ride.

The applause and chatter at the end of Mark’s slide show, brought me abruptly back to the present. Mark asked me if I’d write a script for “Three Days in May’, but I thought that if he had to sit down with me and describe each slide, why didn’t he just do it himself. I suggested that I’d be better suited to writing a children’s story based on the slide/lecture I’d just heard, so that is what I did.

Mark kept encouraging me to join one of the Trail Works’ hiking treks to see the wildflowers in Wayne County. He forgot to mention the field of corn stubbles, but back to that in a minute.

Mark also runs a Bed and Breakfast named the Peppermint Cottage and one weekend a young couple from Finland spent their first wedding anniversary there. During their conversations, Mark found out that Mia Surakka was an artist and liked to draw nature. He put Mia and me in touch. My words became wonderful, colorful, and lively illustrations for our children’s book “Green Trillium”. She agreed, right from the beginning, that we would donate a portion of the royalties to some sort of nature preservation group, even though we didn’t know which one it would be.

While we waited to find a publisher for “Green Trillium” that sunny Sunday in early May happened. Once we were all gathered in Mark’s driveway, we started off down the road to the now infamous field of corn stubble. At first my husband, my guide dog, and I were in the lead, then, person by person passed us by until we were literally “outstanding in our field”. We caught up to everyone else in a small meadow between the corn field and the woods we were about to enter. Mark made introductions and, unexpectedly I felt a hug and announcement about our book. I’d never been introduced as an author before, so that felt quite nice…and without further ado, we plunged into the woods.

The woodland path was narrow with tree roots humped up hear and there. Where we had to go single-file, my husband walked behind me and my guide dog did her best to keep me up-right and on the path. The adults and children in the group were patient and helpful. Once again I was smelling the fragrance of the woods and new, spring life forces. I was horrified when Mark came running back with a Squirrel Corn plant he’d pulled up for me to feel, but he replanted it safely in the same place. I patted the fairly smooth Beech Tree trunk right down to its “elephant toes”; noted the hollow tree where my story character got himself stuck; Laughed as two children painted each other with ” Indian Paint”; listened to the little birds twitter (mixed in with the sound of a tractor tilling a near-by field – hopefully that darn corn field.)

Squirrel Corn plant

Smooth Beech Tree trunk with its "elephant toes"

We gazed over the Golden Valley, Trillium Heaven, and marveled at nature’s resiliency. I carefully knelt down (much to my guide dog’s disapproval) to gently cup the leaves and blossom of a green trillium.

Marsh Marigolds on the floor of the Golden Valley

Trillium Heaven

A Green Trillium

I am pleased to say that, in spite of the corn field, a portion of the royalties from “Green Trillium” will be donated to Trail Works, Inc. “Green Trillium” by Kate Chamberlin, illustrated by Mia Surakka is available from www.Trafford.com/bookstore or phone: 1-888-232-4444.

NOTE: Kate Chamberlin is also the author of “The Night Search”, showing young Heather how valuable a tool her long white cane is when she searches for her lost puppy at camp; available from www.JasonandNordic.com; Phone 814-696-2920. A portion of these royalties are donated to Guiding Eyes for the Blind, a guide dog training center in Yorktown Heights, NY.


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5 Comments to "“Green Trillium” to Benefit Trail Works, Inc."

  1. Videomark Said,

    Is there any season that is more enjoyed than the coming of spring? The arrival of spring is a special season we all look forward to. In the future, the arrival of spring could well be a festive Wayne’s Wildflowers. Spring woodland wildflowers grow all over the northeast woods, but there is something special about the wildflowers of Wayne County. With the rolling drumlins of Wayne County, and natural bays and bogs, we have been blessed by nature. The Spring woodland flowers blossom with the arrival of the Spring Beauty in early April to the Showy Lady Slipper in later June. Wayne County is blessed with a diverse selection of wildflowers in our woods than anywhere else in the Northeast. The diversity of an acid bog and the drumlin woods create this carpet of wildflowers. Zurich Bog with its acid base gives us the wildflowers that are predominantly found in the Adirondacks. The Beech/Maple drumlins give us a soil base that encourages woodland wildflowers that are breathtaking.

    I have discovered Wayne’s Wildflowers through the lens of my camera. I have enjoyed wildflowers since I was old enough to journey in the woods alone. It was back on my Grandmother’s farm in Wolcott, that I saw my first Red Trillium in early April. I continue to search for wildflowers and learn more about them. Some of the riches I have found include “Golden Valley,” where a ½ mile of Marsh Marigolds bloom in early May. “Hepatica Heaven” is a welcome sight after a long winter.
    It was best said by Henry David Thoreau in 1856, “That man is richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.” Nature has provided us with a wonderful treasure and best of all it is free. Nature provides the maintained, no cultivating, no planting, no fertilizing, the wildflowers come up every year for free. All we need to do is to identify the woods where the public is welcome and to establish trails for the public. These special woods or the bog would be identified by a “Wayne’s Wildflower Destination” sign. If you sign it, they will come. Flowers and a fascination with them have been predominant since the Greeks. “Since Iris is the Greek goddess for the Messenger of Love, her sacred flower is considered the symbol of communication and messages. Greek men would often plant an iris on the graves of their beloved women as a tribute to the goddess Iris, whose duty it was to take the souls of women to the Elysian fields”. - Hana No Monogatari: The Stories of Flowers.
    Nature has provided us with this incredible spring show that one must see. Everyone is aware of the economic impact Rochester’s Lilac Festival has on the local economy. Wayne’s Wildflowers can be the economic tourism boost this area desperately needs. I foresee a day when a Wildflower Festival will attract people from all over the world. Everyone benefits, the lodging industry, restaurants, gift shops, and farm markets. Wayne County is also in the fruit belt. Tourists journey to see the Wildflowers and at the same time, they will be driving past orchards of cherries and apples in bloom. When I dance, I dance, when I sleep, I sleep; yes, and when I walk alone in a beautiful orchard, if my thoughts drift to far-off matters for some part of the time, for some other part I lead them back again to the walk, the orchard, to the sweetness of this solitude, to myself.” - Montaigne
    Wayne County has an abundance of Wildflowers just waiting for you to experience!! Now come and find your special treasure before they disappear for another season.

    Mark DeCracker

    Posted on Tue Feb 02, 10:34:00 AM EST

  2. Anonymous Said,

    Spring is time to be rejoiced. I personally love fall the best and then winter both have incredible beauty. All seasons are so tied to the ideas of life. Birth, aging and the stillness of death.

    Posted on Wed Feb 03, 11:10:00 AM EST

  3. Ruth Rosenberg-Naparsteck Said,

    I am looking forward to receiving my book and meeting the author.Her words bring the sight, sound and smell of her walk and invite the reader to walk the trails with the sensitivity of a newborn on this earth. Thank you for writing this book and for all the illustrations.
    Ruth Rosenberg-Naparsteck
    Herons Bend Productions

    Posted on Thu Feb 04, 10:05:00 AM EST

  4. Videomark Said,

    A Walk in the Spring Forest. Here is the video of the illustrator of the "Green Trillium" Mia Surakka of Finland.


    Posted on Thu Feb 04, 11:27:00 AM EST

  5. Seth C. Burgess Said,

    I read Green Trillium by local author Kate Chamberlin last night after a pasta dinner at Embee's Bakery and Café in Lyons and really enjoyed it.

    The experience of Nature on the trail is very personal to us in Wayne County and the way this book wraps it into some larger concepts expands that joy to people who don't live in a place like we do.

    Posted on Fri Feb 12, 09:09:00 AM EST


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