Forest Noticings

april's spot

 

Weeks ago, I posted observations from the first two months of my year of making regular visits to the same ‘spot’ in the woods near my house.  Today I am posting some observations from the next two months of that year–August and September.  (If you’re interested in reading my June and July observations, here’s a link to that posting:  http://www.theearthconnection.org/blog/2014/08/a-year-of-watching/

AUGUST:

  •  At 57 degrees, it’s a chilly morning.  And a breezy one too.  The wind in the treetops is a constant sound, the only sound.
  • A baby red maple I’ve been watching has two new, very tiny leaves.  Despite their diminutive size, they are perfectly maple-shaped.  
  • A large, velvety brown spider walks past me.  Such long legs!
  • Against a background of late summer insect sounds,  I delight in birdsong and the muffled pounding of a woodpecker in the distance.
  • The Indian Pipes that were a ghostly white earlier in the summer are now blackened and shriveled.   I recognize them only because they occupy the same bit of ground the Pipes did.
  • Most of the baby oaks look less healthy than they did a week or two ago.  There are no new leaves, and the old ones look chewed.  An illustration of the fact that for all the bounty of acorns that produce tiny two-leaved plants, very few become trees.  ”Tall oaks from tiny acorns grow,” but mostly not.
  • As I walk down into the forest, the brash calls of a pileated woodpecker allow me to track its flight down into the forest near me.   But I never once catch a glimpse of the bird.
  • A sight I’ve never seen in this spot:  on the log where I typically sit, where tiny twigs emerge from the log, today there are bright dots of orange, amorphously shaped fungus. I can’t help but wonder, “Why now?  What conditions make this fungus emerge today?”

SEPTEMBER:

  • In the sunshiny quiet, a phoebe calls in couplets from down the hill, and insects drone in the background.  All around, patches of the forest floor are lit up.
  • I see no sign of the many mushrooms I saw here a week ago, not even of the red-capped mushroom that was growing up and around from the underside of the log where I sit.
  • It’s been dry.  Those little orange dots of fungi on my log are shrunken and dry-looking.
  • A nearby cricket starts, stops, starts again with its languid buzzing.
  • The miniature leaves on the tiny red maples in and around my spot are bright red, while the leaves of the ‘grown’ red maple trees are still green.  I notice the same thing with some shrubs whose identity I have never learned.  The leaves on the much smaller bushes have turned an autumn red, while the leaves of the larger bushes are still green.
  • It’s getting colder.  Distant ravens are calling soulfully, and nearby woodpeckers are at work on nearby dead trees, all against a backdrop of insect buzz.
  • The log, on which I have sat every week for months, is breaking down.  Damp, fluffy turkey tail-type fungus is emerging from the broken places.
  • Most of the baby oaks look beat up;  their earlier youthful freshness has disappeared.  April Moore

One Response to “Forest Noticings”

  1. Gail Says:

    Love this journal. I can smell the smells as you describe the sights. Thanks for noting the progressions and the reminder that these things are happening. Nourishment for my soul even if I am only imagining as you give witness in person.

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