The first time I came home from Chicago in the spring, after spending most of a year among gray limestone and very little green, I was overwhelmed by plants that seemed to be taking over. The Woods Hole Institute has analyzed satellite data and produced this image of where the woods are in the United States. Having grown up in the midst of the large swathe of dark green in the East, which is the Appalachian mountains and foothills, I think of the woods as normal. Looking at the map, it is clear how unusual it is.
The Appalachians are a billion years old. There are more kinds of plants and animals here than anywhere except the tropics. I am so privileged to be here for another Appalachian spring.