Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A taste of something wonderful

When I think of “preserves,” I imagine something special. A creation standing apart from others similar—made a treasure by the value of its contents. Usually of small size—and, often a gift.

Lake Katharine State Nature Preserve, is just that.
And, although many would save it for a spring walk, set it aside for a warm, sunny morning to admire the many endangered wildflowers within--or a summer hike, under the shade of the bigleaf magnolias, while little waterfalls cascade through patches of mountain laurel and blueberries from sandstone cliffs.
We ventured into the cool, dark hemlock woods on an ordinary winter day—and treated ourselves to its wonder.
The filtered light, even in winter, creates a special place--a special feeling of calm within these walls.

Undisturbed in time, the verdigris on pine bark, its patina.

Fallen trees, their wood now shades of mahogany, are held--feathery fingers of moss, reaching, weaving.

The old stand with the new--sporophytes standing above the dense, mossy bed, crimson threads in the forest fabric.

Mosses and liverworts, thousands strong, building microhabitats for the smallest lives.

Nurturing the next generation.

Young hemlock standing in mossy bed of fallen tree.

Mosses and liverworts are unidentified. The thousands to choose from discouraged me from attempting it--please feel free to help out!

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Stacie said...

beautiful writing! and pictures. and great HDT quote. I love him!

Beth said...

thanks for sharing your walk and the beautiful things your discovered. The pictures are lovely.

cestoady said...

Your beautiful photo-essay illustrates so well why that wonderful Preserve must be a paradise for a bryologist.

All of the moss pictures -- especially the first of the fern moss-- show some of the great variety that has evolved from the link between the single -celled aquatic plants and the many- celled terrestrial ones. Even winter does not keep them from being so beautiful -- and so green.

T.R. said...

A beautiful post with the tease of spring -- all these things green and glorious. You have a keen eye for the intricate art that nature produces. I found a palm frond today that was completely toothed around the edges -- looking like a fossilized shark's jaw. I had to pick it up and carry it - there was so much texture and art to it. Nature is the greatest artist if only we will take time to look beyond the expected.

Jennifer said...

Beautiful closeups... the textures and colors are wonderful! I especially liked the mossy fingers! Nice word-imagery, too!

nina said...

Stacie--I think Thoreau's cabin would've been the perfect fit! (for me)

Beth--That walk will keep me gpoing for the next couple days, anyway--forecast to drop into the single digits!

Cestoady--green was creeping everywhere...would've been a good place to have a guide along to figure out what was what. (And I don't mean a book)

T.R.--I'm sure Hawaii is a marvelous antidote for the winter doldrums.

Jennifer--I came back with 160 pictures--what a treat this place was--we kept saying to each other, "this looks like Allegeny"--

Q said...

A lovely place to walk!
I felt as if I was right there. Your photos and essay brought the woods right to me!
You live in a very beautiful location. Thank you!
I have been catching up with your posts this afternoon. After my walk I came inside to warm up.
I enjoyed your birds and your wishes for the New Year.
I am longing to get into the dirt.

Crayons said...

Wow, what a beautiful walk. I feel liberated from the grey snowbanks that line my street. It is supposed to sit around -3 tomorrow. I love the way you choose your words.

Marvin said...

Love your attention to the beauty in small things.

Mary said...

Nina, you know what to look for, even if you don't know the scientific names...you recognize life in its purest form.

"crimson threads in the forest fabric".

Yes. That's it. Wow.

Thanks for a relaxing tour with you.


Diane said...

I'm glad I checked the comments here. I was here before and see my post didn't appear. I can't remember what I said at the time but I'm sure I mentioned those lovely photos of moss. But I do know I was particularly taken with your great thoughts and metaphor of preserves.

(just so you know, I do come and read nearly every one of your posts but seldom am able to leave a note ... just want you to know I was here)


nina said...

Q--I am longing to get into the dirt, too! And uncover my herb garden from the blanket of leaves.

Crayons--I remember gray, icy, snowbanks--long-lasting where you are--our snows come and go, rarely stay long enough to become old. Stay inside and keep warm!

Marvin--this is where having the camera helps--I see much more when I scan the photos, than I sometimes do on the spot.

Mary--these mosses were so captivating--delicate, detailed, yet under-our-feet ordinary.

Diane--I'm sorry you're having trouble with my site. Is it a setting I can change? (Anyway, I'm glad you stick with it--appreciate your comments!) (and YOUR photography, too)

Diane said...

Dear Nina, the troubles I'm having are a combination of Blogger plus being on dial up ... nothing you can do. Just keep writing such a great blog and showing us those lovely photos. Your blog brings a lot of pleasure.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

I love moss lichen etc. I really like your blog. You like a lot of the same things I like. I feel fortunate that you stumbled upon my blog and left a comment.