Saturday, April 22, 2006

April Nature Snooping

It's raining outside, finally!

It's overcast and rainy, and the fresh green grass and explosion of tree buds seem to glow green in the cool wet air. The earth and streams are soaking in the much needed moisture, as this has been the driest April we've had in years. Locally, there have been a few forest fires, rumored to have been started by people in the fire departments. A forest fire in April is highly unusual!

As a nature enthusiast, I worry so much about the natural world some times. If it isn't bad enough that we destroy our beautiful earth, then we have these odd natural occurances that test the spirits of plants and wildlife to no end. Fortunately, forest fires can help a forest as much as it destroys it. New life grows, and the cleared forest floor becomes a haven for birds, insects, and new plant life.

Lately, I had been worried about the trout. (Hey...that rhymes!) What about the trout made me pout you ask? Water levels.

I notice that the trout are extra wary, and stressed due to low water levels. My spinning lure snagged the bottom frequently, and I only could fish the deep holes for trout. My first-day catch had been decimated from 90 trout last year, to 44 trout this year. (Granted, that's nothing to shake a stick at!)

But indeed, finally the rains have come. It's been raining steadily since yesterday evening, sometimes raining hard, sometimes barely at all -- but always raining. I can almost feel nature rejoicing.


Much like nature, I too have been rejoicing. I've been getting more and more opportunties to go nature snooping, and last time I took some reference photos of things that caught my artistic eye while slipping around Penn's Woods a couple days ago.

First, I wanted to show this beautiful splatter of parasitic life known as lichen:


I'm not sure what kind of lichen it is, as I haven't sat down to identify it. Lichens come in many varieties, including this "Red Soldier Lichen" that I photographed last year:

Red Soldier Lichen

While the first type seems to grow on the bark of trees, the "red soldier" variety seems to cling to dead stumps. To me, they are all beautiful and interesting.

And then, I came across a dead log laying across the leafy forest floor that was definitely worthy of a photo:

Fungi, Lichen, Log

Not only is there lichen on that log, but also some kind of fungus, and some moss to add to the beauty. The world doesn't realize how much BEAUTY there is in a a dead log! It may be a deceased tree, but the life that its death brings to the forest is awesome.

I also took some pictures of an old fence line, rusted and worn. Included was this photo of an old hollowed out fence post:

Fence Post

To the casual observer, it is an ugly, crooked post. Why on earth would someone take a picture of it?

Well first off, it has character. The cracks, grooves, and fungus on it makes this thing more than a crooked fence post; it makes it a living creature.

Moreover, if and when I throw this into a piece of artwork, I will tie it all together by adding perhaps an Eastern Bluebird, or a family of White-footed Deer Mouse living within the deep hollowed out crevace.

As our beloved Bass player once said, "The possibilities are endless!"

On my way back, I found yet another variation of fungus that was rather colorful:



Now on to the flora.

April and May are indeed special, because the bare some rather short-lived, yet beautiful bulbed plant life, including the daffodil, narcissus, and the tulip.

My grandmother is a gardner, so there were plenty of opportunities for me to snap some shots before the fading battery ended my jaunt prematurely!


The above flower is a type of daffodil I'm sure, as there seem to be so many variations of this beautiful flower. Unfortunately, they don't last long, and we are currently in the peek season for daffodiles and narcissus:


Good grief! Do flowers get any prettier than that!?

Here is a classic daffodile, with some character:


One of the prettiest spots this time of year, until about June is right around my grandma's dogwood. It isn't blooming yet, but it's damn close. Just under it are all three variations of daffodil/narcissus in a circle around the trunk.

Narcissus and Daffodiles

It almost seems like a place where fairies and pixies might like to hang out on a sunny spring morning, don't you think?

Nature thrills my heart, and finally getting the opportunity to get some photographs to share with you all feels great. I just hope that you guys will appriciate this stuff as much as I do!

There will be more where this came from.