Image #54 – Violet mushrooms

Image #54The Asheville newspaper had a front page news story about the bumper year for mushrooms in North Carolina.  Lucky me!  And best of all I barely need to leave home. Photographing this lovely Violet-branched Coral mushroom did entail the effort of climbing the hill to my friends’ home and then getting down to the mushroom’s level, which is about 3/4 of an inch high. Check out the acorn in the right-hand corner and you can get an idea of scale.  So delicate and colorful. And so well named because it is very reminiscent of coral.  Just another joy of nature. ☙

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.  ☙