When you approach this native orchid, in its late Spring secluded forest, dappled light dancing through the trees, all the clutter on your mind disappears. Pink Lady’s Slippers are starkly beautiful. Never found in large groups, they are rare, finicky and exist in very limited numbers. The color is a rich red. The bloom, when seen up close is other-worldy, reminding me of the human heart, or some Star Trekkian thing. You watch your step, you speak in hushed tones, because, well because you feel that you are in the presence of something very vital, very Big.
These were flourishing in Chapman State Park, set in the much larger Allegheny National Forest, in northwestern Pennsylvania. I drove the several hours to see native orchids (and butterflies). June 2015, and I remember the moment that these blooms were spotted. Another Oh My Goodness Moment! How many of those do You enjoy per week? Month?
Oh, admission fee? Zero.