Fibonacci Leaves

I just really like these pictures, and if I were a more astute naturalist, I’d be able to tell you what plant this is – but I’m not, and I can’t..though maybe Black Eyed Susan, or some version of Sunflower.  That’s the best I can do.  I’ll wax philosophic, or poetic…or something on all of this later, I’m sure.
fibonacci leaf 1fibonacci leaf 2

Bald Cypress and a Carcass Revisited

This is a bald cypress, one of a few growing along a small, marshy area where I originally found the deer a few months back.  Apparently, the bald cypress belongs to the sequoia family; they can grow to be over 100 feet tall and live to be anywhere from 800 to 1,000 years old.

This is a bald cypress, one of a few growing along a small, marshy area where I originally found the deer a few months back. The bald cypress belongs to the sequoia family; they can grow to be over 100 feet tall and live to be anywhere from 800 to 1,000 years old. Apparently, the oldest living tree in Illinois is a bald cypress. who knew?

I don't have a lot (any) experience photographing carcasses...plus, this one was still a little ripe.  Still though, amazing how thoroughly consumed and decomposed in such a short time.  There were some other scraps scattered about, that we came across a short ways away.

I don’t have a lot (any) experience photographing carcasses…plus, this one was pretty inaccessible and there were some parts that were still a little ripe. Amazing, though, how thoroughly consumed and decomposed in such a short time. There were some other scraps scattered about, some hide and bone, that we came across a short ways away.

If I remember correctly, there were two jawbones lying side by side as if they'd fallen from the skull that way.  I wish I would have gotten a picture of that, but again...not a lot of experience with dead deer photography, and it was still a little stinky.

If I remember correctly, there were two jawbones lying side by side as if they’d fallen from the skull that way. I wish I would have gotten a picture of that, but again…not a lot of experience with dead deer photography, and the stinkiness.

Aside
I've walked past this log many times; it's always fascinating to me how much you can find when you take the time to look, and the subtle appearances, and disappearances that transpire over the days, weeks, and months.

I’ve walked past this log many times; it’s always fascinating to me how much you can find when you take the time to look, as well as the subtle appearances, and disappearances, that transpire over the course of days, weeks, and months. but again, I guess that’s the point.

Notes from the Porkies 2

“The shallow-minded modern who has lost his rootage in the land assumes that he has already discovered what is important; it is such who prate of empires, political or economic, that will last a thousand years. It is only the scholar who appreciates that all history consists of successive excursions from a single starting point, to which man returns again and again to organize yet another search for a durable scale of values.” – Aldo Leopold, Sand County Almanac 

Mirror Lake

We make it to our first cabin at Mirror Lake, three miles from the trailhead where we left the car, and after retrieving our water for the night from the stream down the way I sit and write:

…Great stone wall rises up behind the cabin. Trees cling to its stony face. Rustling in the underbrush. Birdsong in the distance. What are you? The names of things have become lost to us, and so it becomes “some bird.” A fowl out on the water. The names of things have been lost to us, and we have lost ourselves in the namelessness. And there are those of us who wish to remember, who say, “This, yes this, in some way is valuable. Not just to me, but in terms of something greater than me. In terms of something we’ve left behind, forgotten,or failed to discover.”

The cycle of centuries rolls on, there is nothing new under the sun, yet we stand mute and dumb.  The world is as it is, and it is as we name it, both and the same concurrently.  In the being of this world as it’s named, there is both a shutting off and a bringing near – a shutting off of possibility of the one thing in being some other, but also a bringing closer in that the thing, once named, connects to some other – a tree, a habitat, a flower, a leaf – and these threads can be followed, like breadcrumbs, towards deeper mysteries.

Ringed by cliffs and mountains, dense with forest, the call of a loon rings out lonely in the early evening across the water of Mirror Lake.    It wasn’t until later that we were able to identify the sound.  At the time, we were so mistaken as to think that this was a coyote, maybe even a wolf…  But now, the call is placed with that solitary bird out on the water, or the mother we saw days later later at dusk, paddling with her 3 young along the turbulent and rocky Lake Superior shore, riding a wave into a cove, reappearing moments later, alone.

This past November, closer to home, I sat on a log in Salt Creek Woods and listened to a bird squawking in the distance.  I wished it would come closer, but no such luck.  Later, I saw a red headed woodpecker, and as I watched I heard him make the same call I’d been listening to earlier, and the connection was made.

We gain and we fail in the connections we make, and in the words we use to make them.  The connections illuminate our lives, make them fuller, deeper; and while language does this for us, the names can also shut us off from wonder, from possibility.  Maybe in this the forgetting is not such a bad thing, perhaps even necessary, and the successive excursions we make back into the world serve to rejuvenate us to the possibilities that reside there.

On the morning of our second day in the Porkies, we get up and take a rowboat out onto Mirror Lake. We row into a cove where we sit in silence and watch as the wind blows across the water and the ripples bend along the edges of water lilies. A Common Loon dives and resurfaces, sits for a moment or two, and dives once again. The forest reaches down to the shore, where there are reeds and grasses. There is deadfall interspersed, and tall conifers living out their final years towering above the canopy. There are no human voices. No sounds other than the wind and the water lapping against the side of our boat.

Fall is here…and I’m slathered in deadlines…

For the few of you who are actively following, here are some pictures from my favorite spot by Salt Creek Woods.  I’ve been going out regularly, and I have a number of pictures and thoughts that I need to share, but all my time is being eaten by some other commitments.  I hope you like the images…it was a cloudy day, with storms in the forecast; I sat in the middle of this field for about an hour waiting to get stormed on – seemed like somethin’ to do.  In the end, the deluge didn’t ensue until I was already heading back to the car.  ah, the car…always back to the automobile.  So, it wasn’t nearly as cool as it could of been, as I had some romantic notion of sitting in the middle of a field and gettin’ whooped on by the wind and rain.

ah well, there’s always spring.

And winter is sure to be interesting.

More soon…

9/22 (imperceptible threads)

All is still.  Then you hear the breeze.  You hear it before you see it, and it’s felt before it’s seen.  Somewhere in the distance, in the treetops back behind you. Moments later, off to the side and up the trail, you notice the smallest of branches and leaves in the thinnest of saplings begin to tremble, flutter, and sway.  Then you feel it, the coolness and crispness of this new Autumn across the back of your neck, across your cheek, your fingers and pencil, small pad balanced on your knee.

Your focus shifts, and suspended inches above the ground, once invisible filaments now appear, shimmering in the sunlight, caught up and revealing for a split second  impossibly thin and iridescent threads stretched between leaf and twig, rotting log and stone.

Have they been left there by some wandering arachnid, you wonder, or have they been lifted, carried by this wind, and draped across the landscape?

Everything is connected; this is what was known, has been so often forgotten, and what we are learning over once again.    Nothing exists in isolation, or rises into being apart from creation.  From whence we’ve come and where we go, wandering aimelssly, or with purpose, it is both and the same.   The connections persist, there is no doubt, but they are often only revealed for a moment: that split second when the wind, the light, and the angle of your gaze perfectly coincide to reveal a phenomena previously unseen.  Even then, there is only a glimpse, for you cannot discern where the threads begin and end, only that they’re there.

There may be explanations for all things, fascinating in their own right, and meanings may be lifted from any variety of text.  On this day, however, my scripture is laid out before me in the mystery of fugitive webs, shimmering silk, and the currents of air, rolling down from more Northerly places to shift the seasons, swirl through the treetops, and careen softly over my shoulder and along the meandering trail before me.

Salt Creek Prairie 8:15/60°/Wind-East

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Sitting still in the middle of the field.  One tree South of me making a racket, letting the world know that there’s a breeze blowing.  A million leaves flapping in unison.  The grasses and flowers are going to seed, covered in dew, sparkling and billowing.  What few clouds move quickly along and the sun shines down.  Behind me a sudden cascade of dried leaves, birdsong and flight.  A cricket, a steady and sustained chirping.  The leaves falling herald the breeze, which is seen and heard before you feel it.  A small flock of finches dip and veer, chirps and cheeps, whistles and trills.  Alight briefly on the branches and then they’re gone.  Down low in the grasses and seedstalks.  A goose passes overhead, alone, calling out.