Image #299 – Our Next Move

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DargonFly at Myakka River State Park

 

A Dragonfly ponders its next move, perched on a tree branch.  The complexity of this creature is overwhelming to me: four separate wings that are so sheer you can see through them and a “head” that is mostly eyes and those eyes, so I am told, do not see the world as we do.  Consider this paragraph from New Scientist:

We humans have what’s known as tri-chromatic vision, which means we see colours as a combination of red, blue and green. This is thanks to three different types of light-sensitive proteins in our eyes, called opsins. We are not alone: di-, tri- and tetra-chromatic vision is de rigueur in the animal world, from mammals to birds and insects.

Enter the dragonfly. A study of 12 dragonfly species has found that each one has no fewer than 11, and some a whopping 30, different visual opsins.

The dragonfly’s world is a multi-color, psychedelic landscape that is, of course, perfectly normal to the dragonfly.  How dull our world would be to this marvelous being. ❦

Image #287 – Summer?

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It has been a crazy time for weather. Friends in the Northeast continue to be hammered by snow and ice. In Australia they had not just one but TWO(!) major hurricanes (or cyclones) hitting the country at the same time. One, Cyclone Marcia, was a Category 5!

Here in Central Florida we had freezing temperatures for one night but today, just two days later, it was in the low 80s and this picture, snapped at Myakka Park this afternoon, looks very much like summer time.

Ah, weather! ❧

Images #284 – Cinnabar Cort


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It is, I think, a Cinnabar Cort (Cortinarius cinnabarinus) mushroom.  About 2″ in height, it was one of many in the woods at Myakka River State Park this week.   About two years ago it was almost impossible to find mushrooms at Myakka. The feral pig population was decimating the population of mushrooms and other edibles. Their destructive pattern of routing through the soil for anything edible was causing great damage to the Park and at last the Park Service authorized a culling of  pigs and the hunters did their work. The Park is infinitely healthier for their efforts.

The Cinnabar Cort is relatively common throughout Florida and I have seen numerous stands in many different places.  From above it would be easy to overlook except for its rich deep color.

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I had never done any macro work with this type of mushroom and was very pleased with the images. I will re-visit the Cinnabar again and promise to share.  ❧

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Image #222 – Ancient Oak/Ancient People

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Tango and I came across this incredible, ancient oak tree while exploring at Myakka River State Park last week. The base of the trunk was enormous and I would estimate that it would take three people holding hands to encircle it.  Its gnarly, pock-marked bark put me in mind of my cousin Bunny and a song that John Prine wrote and was covered by numerous people, including Kris Kristoferson and Bette Midler. Called “Hello in There” the lyrics go:

You know, Old trees just get stronger/Old rivers grow wider every day

But old people just get lonesome/Waiting for someone to say

Hello in there/Hello.

That describes my cousin Bunny perfectly.  She will be 94 years-old tomorrow (March 26) and she has a form of dementia that is so hard, for her and us. She cannot retain any recent memory. She awakens and her mind is blank.  She wonders where she is but when you tell her she cannot retain it. Things loop around continuously.  I am very patient with her and have discovered that if you are patient enough (and she must be patient too) you can get some things to “stick.”  Once that process happens you can dig deeper and things begin to emerge. She seems to have memories of 2005-2007 but not much beyond that. The fall that injured her pelvis and led her to the ALF occurred in 2010.  So for 4 to 7 years she has been floating in the dream-like world wherein she frequently is driving and she awakens thinking she has just driven in from New England or “the boonies.”  I asked her what the “boonies” are and she said “the Florida forest.”  I wonder what images she is tapping into because she has been coming to Florida since the 1940s.

It is wondrous on many levels but on a basic human level it is very sad.  Two days ago she got into a loop of asking if she had asked these questions before.

“Yes,” I reply.

“Today?” she asks.

“Yes,” I reply.

“Several times?” she asks.

“Yes,” I reply.

“Well,” she drolly replies,  “that must be tiresome.”

I could only laugh … and hope the tears in my eyes don’t fall down my cheeks. ❧

 

 

 

Image #218 – The Swamp Iris has Bloomed

SAMSUNG CSCThe swamp iris have begun to bloom. Scattered throughout Myakka River State Park, they are a beautiful sign that spring is here … at last.  Their botanical name is Iris virginica Southern Blue Flag but I have always called them Swamp Iris. Frequent readers of this blog have seen them before but, honestly, you can never see enough of them.  ❧

Image #215 – How are you lichen it?

SAMSUNG CSCLichen and mushrooms like to hang out together but they are different. Since I am without my reference books I can’t say definitively what all of those lovely colored beings are.  Mushrooms are the fruiting body of fungus while lichens are composite beings that have fungi and a photosynthetic partner growing together in a symbiotic relation. (Thank you Wikipedia.)  The pale green and the red & white growth are definitely lichen. But the tan colored growth has me stumped.  There are mushrooms that are similar to this so …. ?  This bark is on an old oak tree in the oak grove that I featured a couple of posts back (Oak Cathedral). ❧

Image #214 – Found Some Mushrooms!

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Frequent visitors will know that I’ve had this “thing” about mushroom pictures this year. The North Carolina property had plenty of varieties so it wasn’t hard to get a good ‘shroom portfolio. Tango, as you can see, does his part. I could swear he is saying, “Hey mom! I found some mushrooms.” There were quite a few different kinds of mushrooms at Myakka Park yesterday. The Park has cleared out many of the feral pigs so the mushrooms at least have a chance. A couple of years ago you couldn’t find a mushroom in the Park.  Will post a couple of others in the next day or so. ❧

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