Connecticut's state flower has an ephemeral beauty, and for a couple of weeks around Midsummer it is the season's crowning glory. Mountain laurel (kalmia latifolia) assumes the mantle of summer in a cloud of pale pink and creamy white, achingly lovely in the cool of the forest, bright and shimmering in the heath by the wetland verge.
Clad in broadleaf evergreen with ruffles of lace at the wrists and throat, Mountain laurel is the undisputed queen of the rocky forest, her courtiers the saplings of beech and oak, her minstrel the lilting call of the wood thrush. No invaders pass her tangled gates: her thickets bar the Tatarian hoards and keep Berberis at bay. Even the wood goats, those satyrs the deer, cannot mar her voluminous skirts as they so rudely abuse her handmaids the rhododendron.
Only the bitter cold of a fell winter without snow will cause her to wither, and yet with warmer days she puts on new raiment to replace her frostbitten cloak. She is Lady Greensleeves, and all the woodlands do her honor on these Mountain laurel days on the cusp of Midsummer Eve.