Sunday, February 20, 2011

Vines Along the Creek

Today the woods were full of silence. As Daisy and I headed downhill towards Meetinghouse Creek I stopped occasionally to listen for sounds. Once, I heard tiny clicks in the leaves and my first thought was - rain? It was overcast, but rain was not in the forecast. I listened harder. No. Not rain. I decided it must be an insect or young anole moving among the leaves. Daisy smelled three deer (we did not hear them) and took off to chase them downhill and back uphill and into the woods. Even her mad dash seemed to make no noise.

I hiked on down to Meetinghouse Creek and turned left along the creek bank, ducking into the tangled vines and pines that grow along the sunny edge of the pipeline. By this time Daisy had lost the deer and returned to follow me. From a distance, this area of the woodland floor looks like it's covered in a smooth green carpet of Running Cedar (also known as Fan Clubmoss - Lycopodium digitatum), but as you get closer, the beautiful branched leaves take shape. Daisy walked through the green and down to the creek. I followed.

Vines grow thick all along the creek here. At one spot I noticed all these vines climbing trees (Poison Ivy, Partridgeberry and Cross Vine) or dangling down from branches (Wild Grape, and honeysuckle) or climbing up other vines (Carolina Jessamine). I settled on the edge of the small ridge above the creek to draw. It was still quiet, but a woodpecker was knock-knock-knocking on a tree a short distance away. Daisy came and sat so close she was leaning on me - I could feel her warmth, which is very comfortable and snuggly, and one of the best reasons to be a dog person.

After about an hour I packed up and Daisy and I headed out of the woods. By this time the sun was breaking though the clouds and warming things up. The birds seemed to like this too, so birdsong was everywhere: Goldfinch, Titmice, Crows, Cardinals, Kinglets, Chickadees, and Red-bellied Woodpecker.

ps: the green, thorny vine is one of the greenbriers - I think Common Greenbrier, or Smilax rotundifolia.


nancysbaldwin said...

Love the vines! Love Daisy!
BTW, the Wood Ibis are V-ing your way. Have you heard them?

Helen said...

Thanks Nancy! Oh, and also thanks for the tip. I'll keep my eye out for Wood Ibis.

Anonymous said...

Your comment abu tthe "clicks on the leaves" reminded me of a time that Nature gave me a gift. I was taking a walk on my old neighborhood and as I turned onto my street I heard a multitude of tiny "tsks". I finally figured out that the gum balls on the gum ball tree I was standing under were opening and spilling out their tiny black seeds. I just stood there amazed. At the rate the seeds were raining down the shower would probably be over very soon. I thought it a miracle that I happened to be there for the once a year event! Naomi Richardson

Helen said...

Naomi, Lucky you! Didn't know that about sweetgum trees. Now I want to go stand under one until I hear the seeds fall! Thanks for telling me your story.

Travveller said...

Beautiful! I especially love how you captured the texture of the grape vine.