Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Along the trail, I find the evidence--
a statement of ownership,
laws placed upon a piece of land,
markers of and for those who go there.

A smile broadens each time.

With the reminder--
we own nothing beyond ourselves.

I'm taking a few days away from the blog--
be back soon!

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Leaf Out (SWF)

this Blue

Glidewell Trail,
Brookville Lake, Indiana

I return to woods that are full—the branches heavy, now, thick with leaves, where, just weeks ago, light barely caught on a branch, smooth and thin, waiting for spring.

Great Waterleaf, Hydrophyllum appendiculatum

Mayapple, Podophyllum peltatum

The wildflowers, small and bright, bold and brassy, begging to be seen, have passed.
Knee-deep in fresh, soft growth, the long and lacy stems fill in, the softer light more kind to their quiet colors--
pale lavender, shades of purple, icy blue.

Wild Hyacinth, Camassia scilloides

Miami Mist, Phacelia purshii

Under this cover,
beneath its shade,
gossamer petals on willowy stems,
fringed faces from a carpet, watch.

Dragonfly on Dwarf Larkspur, Delphinium tricorne

And hold the sounds there, still.
Within the safety of these woods.

Scarlet Tanager, Piranga olivacea

Jack in the Pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum

Violet Wood Sorrel, Oxalis violacea

Great Waterleaf

Wild Hyacinth

Dwarf Larkspur
(click to enlarge)

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

As Gold

I love to see the surface of a lake, smooth as glass--
unbroken by nothing more than my reflection, gazing over it.
A field of grass in the morning,
still beneath the silver sheen left by last night’s moon—
the clear sky, cold and dark.
No steps yet there--mine alone to enjoy.

Mounds State Recreation Area, Indiana

Eastern Kingbirds

Golden Shores

But, in a space created for others,
that there should be a child, splashing, calling out,… and laughing.
Tells me these places are loved—
and will be saved for years to come.

Crayfish Chimneys

Families Fishing

Riches as Gold

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Reward

Grassy bank of Brookville Dam

From the paved lot below, a huge earthen wall towers to the base of blue sky—its long, fenced border distant and topping a grassy bank, steeply rising, recently cut short by what must have been heroic actions on the part of a mowing crew, just days ago.
Broad and inviting, this immense wall of green holds back the waters of Brookville Lake, over 5000 acres of recreational wonderland—boating, fishing and swimming—soon appreciated, as summer swelters in this community of eastern Indiana, and families congregate to picnic below.
Certain the view from above must be worthy of the climb, we started the 180-foot ascent, slowly, but steadily up the grass—legs soon aching, calves taut, leaning hard against the steep slope ahead.


Small grasshoppers, an excuse to pause, reflect, catch our breath—
we peeked backward over our shoulders at several young men, now seeming quite small, gathered at the outlet below to throw a line into the surging escape waters.

Outlet below Brookville Dam

With each rest, our target a bit closer.
Less green.
More blue.

Brookville Lake from Dam

Until finally, from the long, narrow lane at the ridge, the broad surface of the lake unfolded on the other side to what must have been miles beyond, edged in the new green of spring, a winding shoreline.
Over its openness, swallows, dipping and diving in the air, almost at eye level—then abruptly scooting beneath the concrete supports where the intake tower met the sturdy rock wall, more than half a mile in length.

Brookville Dam intake tower

Carefully climbing a short distance down the stone slope, I tucked myself underneath the tower supports, and looked up.

Cliff Swallow nests built under tower

Just above me, their beautifully crafted clay pot nests, small, round doorways,
young faces peeking out.
And, as if I wasn’t even there, they went about their work—
fussing and feeding their families in their small clay pots.

Cliff Swallows, Petrochelidon pyrrhonota

Brookville Dam from overlook

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Monday, May 18, 2009

A Thought for Monday

I envy your day--
sunshine warm upon your back,
a field of green grass.

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Have you seen...

Each morning, we gathered for breakfast under a small shelter at the edge of a nearby park. In the dark and dense fog, heavy eyes scanned only as far as the tables, set with food—and a coffee station doling out warmth, and life, to the 6:00 a.m. crowd.
By afternoon, on our return here, this large cedar beside the structure was catching the full midday sun—illuminated all across its great size.
And, orange balls, glowing.

It’s Cedar-Apple Rust.
And these great fingers, telia, extending from the purple knobs on every branch, reminded me of playdough squeezed through a child’s toy, extruded in long, cool, floppy forms.
This wet spring prompts them forth.

From them, the bright orange teliaspores will be carried, on a breezy day, to find an apple or quince tree nearby. In the fall, from lesions there, aecia, growing on the apple’s leaves and fruit, aeciospores are blown, back to cedar again—the cycle between the two plants completed in 24 months.

This tree is heavy beneath them.
Their soft, gelatinous strands, bending the branches low.
But I find something very strikingly beautiful about them.
Orange balls of fire.

Cedar-Apple Rust,
caused by fungal pathogen,
Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae

"Have you seen...." is an effort to discover the unusual beauty in things not usually appreciated for their beauty.

More information about Cedar-Apple Rust may be found here.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

From the Blog... to the Bog (SWF)

It’s the places, small in name, immense in value, that intrigue me.
Places like fens, and bogs, where the lives evolved within are rare.
Worlds unto themselves,
remnants from ages past--
these are true treasures to explore.

The Cranberry Glades sit high within the Allegheny mountains of the Monongahela National Forest, bounded as a bowl at an elevation that allows this rare community, resembling arctic tundra, to exist as far south as Pocahontas County, West Virginia.

The Bog Plains

A cranberry hides within

Within its 750 acres, dense stands of Red Spruce and Hemlock interrupt the broad, rosy bog plains of prostrate cranberry vines and bog rosemary, a woven, 10-foot deep peat base, their anchor.

False Hellebore, Veratrum viride

Quiet pools of dark, water, lumps of felled trees at their edges, sprout glowing patches of marsh marigold and false hellebore, the pleated leaves playing with shadows on a bright and sunny late April morning.

Marsh Marigold, Caltha palustris

From a boardwalk protecting the fragile, acidic ground beneath it, I watched as a small gray bird announced his territory’s edge—the sun on a bare branch from within the cover of dark evergreen, illuminating his raised golden crown.

Golden-crowned Kinglet, buried in branches

And, minutes later, my first Blackburnian Warbler, throat glowing orange, the same thick green woods, home to him, too.

Eastern Skunk Cabbage, Symplocarpus foetidus

Golden mounds of carnivorous pitcher plants, dot the sun-filled plains.
Skunk cabbage unrolls its first small leaf.
And, soon wild orchids and sundew will be visible here.

For one day, we were all in one place.
Bloggers to the bog— treasures wonderfully remembered.

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