Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mantis Case, Blue Curls, Thistle, Dodder

The afternoon was cold and breezy; white puffy clouds scooted across the blue sky. I was not surprised to see patches of snow down by Meetinghouse Creek, on a north-facing bluff, because our road also still has fat, dirty chunks of the stuff left from last Friday's event. It proves how cold it's been this week. I'm still waiting for that unseasonably warm day when you can smell the very earth warming, and hear spring peepers trilling. That would be delicious.... either that or a doozie of a snowstorm that drops twelve inches instead of four!

Anyway, cold or not, I grabbed my backpack and headed out to hike with Radu and Daisy. They did their thing - running, turning to look at me - running - turning - running... You get the picture. We headed east, with the sun to my back. My goal was to build up body heat first, then sit to draw with the sun in my face, for warmth.

The plan worked so well I got hot, and soon, I'd shed my scarf and coat and was luxuriating in the warmth of the afternoon sun. This is it, I thought. It feels like April!

I was sitting on the worn path, close to Meetinghouse Creek, and next to the thick tangle of briers, sumac, and goldenrod that grow thick in the damp soil. Also in there I noticed a small thistle seed head. I went in to retrieve it. What I found was that the main stem of the thistle was easily 10 feet tall but had fallen over, otherwise I would have seen it towering over the other growth. I snapped one seed head to take back to my seat. While I was in the jungle, I decided to snap the top of one of the many sumacs that had black dodder seed head vines spiraling up the main stem. This is the only place I've ever seen the dodder seed heads, and all of them are down very close to the water.

I found many praying mantis egg cases while hiking down the pipeline, so it was not surprise to spy this one in the thicket. The leftover bracts of the Blue Curls were so dainty and pale, I am surprised I noticed them at all.

Daisy and Radu sat close by my while I drew for about an hour, until with no warning, one of those nice, white fluffy clouds had the gall to scoot itself right over the sun. The temperature dropped dramatically, and the wind picked up. (I wonder if this is a normal weather phenomena, wind rising when a warm area is suddenly shaded like that) Brrr. It was definitely February again! I packed my stuff up, put my coat back on, and was on the way home within two minutes.

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