¬†¬†¬†¬† It never ceases to amaze me that whenever I¬†go into the woods just below our house, I¬†invariably see something I’ve never noticed before.¬† And this morning was no exception.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†After strolling down the hill into the forest, I took a seat on a spread of dead oak leaves.¬† ¬†Then I proceeded to take in what could be seen¬†from this particular vantage point.¬†¬†¬† Lots of tall chestnut oaks, some hickories and tupelo.¬† There were smaller red maples, slender and leaning in one direction or another.¬† Some moosewood, a few as tall as the maples, others no taller than a shrub.¬† And here and there a¬†little¬†’tree sprout,’ no more than a foot high and sporting just a few leaves.¬† And there was no shortage of fallen¬†branches strewn about,¬†resting at various angles and some partially covered in a year or two’s worth of¬†dead leaves.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†As I sat looking, I began to take in more.¬† A large ant on a mission, determinedly carrying some¬†little white sphere uphill and down through the leaves.¬† The cicadas, I noticed, were almost silent, after having made quite a din yesterday.¬† Only a couple of birds were singing.¬† A woodpecker tapped for a few moments.¬†
¬†¬†¬†¬† And, perhaps most dramatic of all,¬†the sun cast streaks of light through the trees–onto a patch of forest floor, onto leaves¬†fluttering from certain trees, onto a few tree trunks.
¬†¬†¬†¬† Then my eye caught something I don’t remember having seen¬†before.¬†
¬†¬†¬†¬† About 30 feet away, on¬†the trunk of a hickory tree lit by the morning sun, was a very large shadow of a¬†leaf.¬† The shadow came from one of the few¬†chestnut oak leaves that hung on a spindly tree between the sun and the hickory.¬† Of course I had to capture the tree with its leaf shadow on film (if one can¬†refer to digital photography as film!).¬† Moving nearer to the tree to take my picture, I noticed, on a pine tree farther on, a¬†much more pleasing,¬†even delightful¬†shadow.¬† There¬†on the reddish pine bark danced several small leaf shadows.¬† As the breeze rustled the living leaves on a nearby red maple, their shadows moved gracefully in the sunshine against their¬†scaly pine bark background.¬† The sight gave me joy, and¬†I eagerly¬†snapped a couple of pictures.
¬†¬†¬†¬† Feeling very happy as I hiked back up the hill to the house, I paused¬†to observe a daddy long legs ambling along nearby.¬† It too paused, and with a couple of its legs, sensitively investigated my shoe.¬† Then the daddy long legs moved on.¬† I watched¬†as its small body, suspended among many long, arched legs, cast a little oblong shadow that¬†followed¬†along on the ground.–April Moore