Friday, September 25, 2009

Rock, feather, acorn, hickory nut

It was hot today, surprisingly so for the end of September. Thinking we were early enough for cool temps, Radu, Daisy and I headed out around 10 a.m. for a good long hikeabout. Within minutes I was sticky and had walked through three or four spiderwebs - the kind that wrap around your face and leave a small black spider sitting on your shoulder... has this ever happen to you? The best way to handle spiderwebs in the woods is to pick up a long stick with branches at the end, and constantly wave it in front of you (like a big clawed hand) as you walk. I know this, but I often forget it.

I was hoping there would be a breeze on the pipeline - usually there is one. Today we had no such luck. It was just plain sticky, as if even the water molecules in the air around me were hot. This could be atmospherically correct, I suppose. Whatever, in spite of heat and no breeze, I made myself continue.

As we trekked, I noticed something weird. In the still air I could smell the scent of red clay - small pockets of fragrance that rose from the ground and swirled around me. When I got close to the woods it was the scent of pines that was the strongest. Near the creek it was the smell of damp earth mixed with fresh hay (recently strewn about by the pipeline workers to help the grass seed to germinate). Heading up the far hill I could smell crushed plants, left after the trucks and machinery finished their jobs. Maybe it's because usually a breeze freshens the air so that no one scent stands out, or maybe it was the humidity that held the air in place so I could walk through it. Whatever the reason, it was nice.

At the top of the hill I found a 4" tall honey-colored bolete mushroom rising through the weeds. I settled down to draw it. It didn't go well. First, Daisy, being only nine months old, was curious about the mushroom. She came to stand right in front of me to nose around. Second, gnats came out to buzz around me and then some tiny biting thing landed on my arm and my journal page. (not no-see-ums, but just as aggravating) Third, I was sitting a little too close for comfort to an ant bed. They worried me. I found myself looking back at them frequently. Finally I decided to just keep walking and enjoy the sights and scents of the morning. The journal could wait.

My trip back through the woods gave me a few more spiderweb encounters - oh joy! After a hot shower (to remove spider webs) I assembled the goodies I'd picked up on my walk and drew them in the comfort of my kitchen.

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