Sunday, April 12, 2009

Bloodroot


Early this afternoon, while Ben hiked with Daisy, I  spent time in the woods drawing these little Bloodroot leaves that are growing along our front path.  They are not close to our big patch by the driveway, so I'm excited to think that they are expanding their territory

In the late afternoon I took a hike with Radu on the bright and breezy pipeline.  Bluets and Cinquefoil are still in bloom out there, but new things are happening too - the Green and Gold down by the creek have sent up big new leaves; Coral Honeysuckle and Carolina Jessamine vines are in bloom and already dropping their old, yet still colorful tubes of petals onto the ground; tall and skinny Toadflax blossoms are up and waved in the breeze.  Along with the good were two things to avoid: big patches of tender, sprouting leaves of Poison Ivy, and the quickly growing hills of fire ants all along the pipeline. 

Tiny Meetinghouse creek was a magical place today.  The creek bed is in a steep little valley that both blocks the wind and holds the afternoon heat, so on a cool and breezy day like today it can be quite still and warm.  Clumps of violets are still in bloom along its banks, while a flock of Spring Azure butterflies sipped from the sandy gravel nearby.  A Mayfly was busy, gently depositing her eggs in the still water behind a natural rocky dam, creating ripples each time she touched the surface.   Then, I heard, PLOOP!"  A frog?  I stood on a culvert recently placed by the pipeline (so they can drive their mowers across) and studied the slowly moving stream.  At first I didn't see anything, then out of the culvert floated a three-inch Green Frog, with one back foot hanging down, the other floating on the surface.  His head and two front feet were also at the water's surface.  I watched his body drift, drift, drift... he moved slowly with the flow until it came to a small stick that had become wedged cross-stream.  I was wondering if he would crawl over it or swim under it... but when he came to the stick he didn't move at all.  In fact, he thumped into it and his legs drifted around and honestly, he looked dead.  Oh dear, I thought. What's wrong? I watched him several minutes - no movement.  But as soon as I took a step toward he water he shot away in a flash to hide in a clump of old leaves.  Ha!  Do frogs "play possum?"  I don't know for sure, but this one seemed to be doing just that.

Back at home, while I sat on my bench at the top of the hill, facing the steady beach-type wind, I saw a flash of white against the greening trees.  I got up to investigate. It was a Zebra Swallowtail, flitting about in the warm sun.  When I got close he fluttered into the woods and headed down the path toward my house.   I decided to do the same.

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