It was already 77 degrees and humid when we headed out, at 9 a.m. High pitched crickets buzzed in the trees, still dripping from rain in the night, and invisible spider webs were strung across the path. I think my friend missed the webs, but I managed to get some of the sticky strands across my face and in my hair. If you've ever done this, you know how I felt. Even thought I brushed and wiped and rubbed my face and shoulders, it never felt like they were truly gone. I imagined the tiny spider on my back. On my neck. In my hair. The only way to deal with this is to STOP thinking about it. Walk on and focus on what's ahead... of course you should also find a nice forked stick to wave in front of you to remove other invisible webs! Once on the open field of the pipeline and its well worn path, there were no more worries of spider webs.
We hiked down to Meetinghouse Creek, up the hill and into the far woods, around the high, rocky ridge that runs along the river. Daisy and her beautiful canine visitor, Olive, raced ahead as I pointed out to Kaye interesting rocks, mushrooms, and box turtles, as well as some of my favorite moss mounds and wildflower patches. One particular patch was Elephants Foot (Elephantopus sp. - sometimes know as Devil's Grandmother), in full bloom in the light shade of high pines.
At the river's edge Daisy and Olive headed for the water while Kaye and I settled down to draw. I found these delicate White Wood Asters that were just beginning to bloom. I thought it strange that the leaf bases on one plant (left) were so varied. It's not like I didn't see things correctly. I always notice weird details, so who knows what was going on with that plant. All the leaves on the other one (right) had typical heart-shaped leaf bases and the arrow shape.
As we were leaving we noticed the itty bitty white mushrooms. They were everywhere - the more we looked, the more we saw all through the woods, up the hill, down the bank, thousands of mushrooms. Kaye found a twig with one tiny mushroom and two that were pin-head sized. Mushrooms are amazing in many ways. Go here to hear a mycologist discuss the possibility of these beautiful fungi saving the world!