Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Kidneyleaf Rosinweed

A creek in springtime is a magical place to visit, and little Meetinghouse Creek certainly fit that description today.  During my walk I stopped to see if anything was going on down there, and at first thought, "Nah, nothing here."  Then I heard a low buzz, and a Whitetail Dragonfly zoomed in and landed on a reed, causing it to bounce and wave for a moment.  A Spring Azure butterfly flitted down from uphill and sipped at the wet sand along the creek's edge.  Small minnows made themselves known by swimming through a patch of sunlight close to me, and once looking for them, I saw them everywhere, swimming oh-so-leisurely and then suddenly darting off... where to? what's the hurry? I wondered.   There were the bright round sun spots on the creek bed that showed the whereabouts of a Water-Strider (barely visible otherwise) as he walked around effortlessly on the water's surface.  

As I studied the Water Strider I slowly became aware of something else, something that reminded me once again of how important it is to stop and settle into a place if you want to truly see everything... along the creek bottom, as clear in the creek water as on land, ran a deep set of turkey tracks, heading downstream.  What a fun discovery.  I could imagine a lone Tom strutting along in the early morning and wading in for a Creek Buffet, getting his fill of insects, spiders, frogs, tender grasses and other tasty morsels.  As I stood there a Great Spangled Fritillary fluttered over the creek and stopped to rest on a grass stem. He fluttered away when four-month-old Daisy came running from Radu's side and splashed into the creek, snapping at the droplets she created as well as the butterfly.  So much for peace and quiet... and turkey tracks.  

On the way back to the house I saw a Blue Darner dragonfly zipping back and forth over a sea of yellow coreopsis blooms, a Checkerspot and a Sulphur butterfly,  seven Black Vultures circling,  and heard Chickadees and Indigo Buntings' songs.  At the top of the hill were the new leaves of a  Kidneyleaf Rosinweed.  I think this is the most beautiful native plant leaf that grows around Middlewood.   Years ago, when I first discovered the leaves growing on the pipeline, I was certain I'd found a rare plant.  It's neither rare nor endangered.  And although the leaves are large and ornate, the fall-blooming flowers don't live up to what you'd expect from such fancy deeply-lobed, carmine-veined leaves.  But they are lovely in their own way - small yellow composites on very tall stems, and they are a good source of nectar for butterflies.   


Anonymous said...

Very Nice, ZEN'ish and relaxing, but complex.


Judy Butler said...

The design is captivating as it fills the page spilling over the edge. I am so timid of doing this kind of drawing. But it provides such botanical detail of one leaf. I strive to be brave and bold like this. I have not been able to draw for the last two weeks. Chemotherapy so gets in the way of my hobby. But I have the next three weeks off and hope my hands will soon be cooperative. Instead I have been organizing my digital pictures into categories and posting previous sketches. Fortunately I can still type and use my computer to be at least a little creative. I loved your Turkey feather. I have been stuck on sea gull feathers because I have so many from my trips to the beach. Not likely to run into a turkey in the suburbs. Our family is going to Natchez Tracy State Park in two weeks, now there would be somewhere where I might find some Turkey Feathers or other interesting specimens to draw.

Are you familiar with Maryjo Koch? A wonderful artist. She has an amazing series of nature books, cards, wrapping paper, etc. When you see her work you will recognize it instantly particularly for her wrapping paper. One book is titled Bird, Egg, Feather, and Nest. Oh, my. Zillions of different kinds of and related bird illustrations. Check her out.

Take care. Judy