January 10th – At this time of year, I desperately scan the world around me for signs of the oncoming spring, however small or odd. Today, I spotted one.
This floating root in the canal at Walsall Wood spotted on the way to work is just such a sign. It looks like a random piece of flotsam in amongst the maturing algal bloom which in recent weeks has turned red from green. But this root is actually the front guard for a larger movement.
It’s a water lily rhizome.
These roots break from last year’s dead growth and sink to the floor of the canal, then as spring comes, they gain buoyancy and begin to float. They move with the currents, boats, winds, waterfowl moments and eventually settle and sprout roots.
In high summer they will provide a new carpet of the familiar huge leaves and bright flowers for us to enjoy.
So it’s good news: Lily thinks spring is coming!