Invasion of the Skunk Cabbages, Part I
Alien things, deep in the frozen mud of March, they begin warming, surging, melting the icy earth above them, spathes twisting hotly up through ooze. One day, near where the pond is silted out are a hundred, little, wine-colored hoods poking aside dry, forest detritus; each spathe peeking at the windy world; they are tents encamped amid death in the frozen wetland. Hooded and hidden inside each spathe is a spadix, a golden orb. The air around the spathe is warm and heavy and smells of decay; the scent filters through undergrowth, waking beetles and spiders and flies, calling them to the orb. Inside each purple spathe the warm air is a vortex around the orb, and the whirling smell of cadaverine is intoxicating.