Image #52 – The Pipes Are Calling

Image #52aIt is July 20th. Forty-three years ago the first men landed on the moon and it is the birth date of  my dear friend Barbra Jenks.  She would have been 47-years old today but AIDS took her life in 1992.   She has been dead for more than twenty years.  It is nearly impossible to believe.

Here in North Carolina, on Fawn Hill, in 2013, life goes on and the Indian Pipes are beginning to fade.  They seem to be sprouting up everywhere on the hill around me but the earliest blooms are definitely on the down-side of growth and I have my doubts about whether the new growth will be able to match the growth spurts of the other stands. The signs of de-comp in the older stands are there in blackness that tinges the petals and the mushy texture of the stalks. Still, they are clearly producing nectar as the honey bee showed me.

Image #52

He buzzed by my ear as I lay on the soft bed of leaves in the woods trying to get “just the right shot” on the Indian Pipes. Soon I was engaged in an energetic effort to get a clear photo of this bee who worked the petals with remarkable familiarity. I couldn’t do it. He was too fast for me. I have some wonderfully focused pictures of his rear-end as he nuzzled into each petal but this grainy photo is the best I can do for a full frontal of this wonderful bee.

Life goes on. This bee knows nothing of men landing on the moon or Barbra’s untimely death. His life is short and his focus intense. There is a lesson there for all of us. ☙

Image #50 – Blue Chanterelle mushroom

Image #50Okay, I’m not entirely sure I have identified this mushroom properly but it’s close and don’t you just love that name?  Blue Chanterelle … it is evocative of  mystery even though a search for chanterelle reveals nothing more than what it is — “an edible mushroom/fungi.”  What is remarkable about this mushroom is it’s delicacy and vulnerability. In this case it is growing on a bed of moss in a friend’s yard. As we approached and she revealed it to me I had to re-focus not only my eyes but my brain because to me it was nothing more than a bit of detritus on the moss. You can see the moss clearly, looking like ferns in this tightly focused macro shot. The mushroom was about 2.5 inches high and there were several scattered about the area. So delicate and yet so vibrant.  Wonderful to see.☙

Image #49 – Brown Thrasher

Image #49The sun comes up early in Franklin, fifteen minutes earlier than it does in my recent home of Sarasota. I don’t make it a point to see the sunrise unless my bio-rhythms call me out of bed for some reason or if I am in a unique place that almost demands a viewing, like India or the east coast of New Zealand.  Yesterday I was awoken in the early twilight of sunrise by an odd, rhythmic clicking sound. It was so regular that it almost seemed like a machine. I was curious, so was the cat. We both pulled ourselves from sleep and went to the window. There was a Brown Thrasher, aggressively “working” the piles of leaves in my backyard, flicking them about and grabbing morsels of insects, grubs and worms that were still slow-moving in the coolness of the early day. Is his clicking (also  described as a “smacking”) some kind of sonar?  He “worked” my yard for most of the morning. This photo was taken more than three hours later.  He seemed very well fed and content. There’s a lot of that on Fawn Hill.  ☙

Image #48 – My View — edited

Image #48A rather truncated view of my porch view, thanks to the Nikon 18-200mm lens. The power lines are a giveaway but when you can zoom-in it removes a lot of “unwanted” image. In this case the missing element is the small business that operates just below my home. They manufacture bee-hives and many other things, I’m sure. They also run a survey company and probably did the survey on this land that I now occupy. At night their security light is very obvious and I dream of a Japanese Maple that will help block that light.  But it all seems so miniscule  in the scheme of things.  After all, they make bee-hives and have two stands of hives, each about 10 feet in length.  In other words, LOTS of bees. I see the bees as I go about my day and wish I had more to offer them. “Give me another year” I plead.  Wasted time and thought. For bees the only time is now. They have this moment and no other. Still, I make my promises.

Yesterday I put up my hummingbird feeder, filled with a nectar that I now feel is too weak. Nevertheless they came, this morning as I was sitting on my porch and enjoying coffee. Two of them sat in the nearby tree for quite a while, conversing in that mysterious way that birds do. They flew away and I assumed that my decade-old hummingbird feeder, the one that never worked in Sarasota, was just too old and faded.  But wait!  One of them came back and tested each of the feeding ports. After he (?) departed I rushed to get my camera and hoped to post a picture of hummingbird at my feeder. Alas, faithful readers must endure a truncated version of my view. But I am confident that one day soon there will be a hummingbird picture. And, if not, I will share the purple mushrooms that are about 1/4 of an inch and look like coral. This is a marvelous new world I have entered. Alice’s WanderLand goes on … I am such a lucky soul. ☙

Image #47 – Dinner

Image #47There are many wonderful mushrooms here on Fawn Hill. This little guy, and I do mean little — about 1/4 of an inch, is nestled along the side of the driveway that leads up to the home of my friends Boni & Gail.  It has found a comfortable spot among the moss and it appears to me that it is about to become dinner for these ants. ☙

Image #46 – Blackberries

Image #46Just up the road from me, off Patton Road with a turn onto Louisa Chappel Rd., is a “U-Pick Blackberries” farm. This shot is not from that venue since there has been little time to pick blackberries. All of my energies are focused on picking colors and cabinet knobs. Still, I think about picking blackberries and remember a wonderful time more than two decades ago when I picked wild blackberries with my friend Bunny near Max Patch, here in North Carolina. Today Tango and I managed a walk on the Franklin Greenway, in between the rain storms, and it is there that I took this photo. Between July 1-9 there was 13 inches of rain here in Franklin!  The berries are plumping up nicely with all that moisture. The birds and critters will be happy.  So am I. ☙

Image #45 – All Beginnings are Hard

Alice1stdayatschool - Version 2I’ve been “off the grid” for a couple of days. For those who don’t know, I’ve been moving from Florida to North Carolina. On Friday the movers finally arrived with my things. I’m restoring/renovating a 25-year old, double-wide mobile home that has been abandoned for two years. It has been a chore. I knew that the more I did before the movers arrived the happier I would be and I was right.

So, what does any of this have to do with the image I have chosen for this post?  Well, my sister is fond of saying that “all beginnings are hard.” And it’s true. I am embarking on a new beginning. So as I thought of what image to post tonight I suddenly flashed on this one. That’s me, in the foreground, arriving back from my first day at school. It is 1953 in Norton, Massachusetts.  My sister is behind me. As the last of four children I can tell you that pictures of me are available but are no where near the quantity of the first three. Still, my mother was a very intelligent and cognitive woman. She captured moments of my life that are very dear and telling to me. This is an example. My first day of school and I am brimming over with confidence and things to tell her.  It is written all over me. Beginnings ARE hard but there is something in them that I have always relished. And that is how I am feeling now. Relishing this new moment, this new beginning. I am 65 years old and I still know that little girl in the picture above. Remember, the only thing that can keep on growing is spirit. ☙

Image #43 – Indian Pipe close-up

Image #43Image #41 was a grainy, iPhoto picture of a wonderful cluster of Indian Pipes. I returned the next day and was amazed to find the bloom intact.  Even more wonderfully, there were small clusters just beginning to emerge from the forest floor. This photo is a close-up of the plant’s flower, so delicate and bell-like. Being able to photograph this flower is such a treat for me. Watch for more photos. ☙

Image #42 – These are the voyages of the Starship …

Image #42After photographing the Indian Pipes last night I started home and caught sight of a majestic tree fungus/lichen. I snapped a couple of pictures with the iPhone which were adequate but we returned this morning and photographed both the Indian Pipes and fungus/lichen (pictured above) with the Nikon. It was a good session and I will post more in coming days.

This magnificent being is growing on the side of a tree and is stunning in its color against the dark backdrop of the forest. My field guides are still packed in a box, enroute on a moving truck so I can’t begin to tell you what this is but my imagination sees the Starship Enterprise.  What about yours?☙

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