It’s the unofficial one year anniversary of the blog; if I ever worried that I’d run out of things to write about, I’m not worried anymore. This tiny wild place in the city is infinitely richer than anyone could guess. Everyday-ness, familiarity helps – noticing the minute progressions of life in it’s seasonal cycle. Day 1 is just what I noticed today.
A trailing crust of ice, water current crystalized. Beneath the sheer beauty, a complexity of process to decipher. That there’s open water at this spot is good – evidence of a spring fed stream.
It’s incredibly quiet today, as if this forest is not nestled in the middle of the city. UPS jets have gone quiet now that the buying fest is over for awhile. For the human presence, only a few runners and me. The deer stand around, more relaxed than usual, eating their winter diet of frozen Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei) foliage. The yearlings are abundant, and look especially furry in their winter coats. When the wind dies down and the sun is on my back, I’m overdressed in my winter clothes – but if I sat down for five minutes the cold would seep in.
Something about winter light, so clean and pale, all shades of warm and cool. The old Sycamore called the hugging tree fell last fall, and is stretched out on the forest floor.
In the midst of winter dull, a spot of bright yellow on the trail. A broken seedpod perhaps? It’s a rarer find, a Polyphemus Silk Moth cocoon ripped open by an animal for the soft innards.
Composed of a strand of silk a third of a mile long, the wrinkled brown cocoons are well camouflaged and usually very hard to spot.
Warm colors stand out; a golden tangle of withered leaves on a vine, seedpods and milkweed fluff. Matalea gonocarpos, Angular-fruit Milkvine, is common in our forest but easily overlooked in summer.
Perhaps this explains the random Monarch butterfly I see flitting through the forest, since Milkvine’s foliage is equally edible for the larvae as that of other milkweeds.
Another look at the deer bones in the opening pic. It’s an odd assortment; a pile of leg bones only. Coyote doings likely, but no obvious marks on them. I’m intrigued by the condition of the large femur in the foreground, as it seems to have some damage. Does this indicate weathering of the bones, or age of the deer?
An ordinary sight, fungi erupting from a dead Ash tree. But wait, it’s 15 degrees, how can this be? Touching them I find they’re hard as rocks, frozen solid.
It’s hard to find ice crusts the deer haven’t trampled on.
As the sun goes down, the cold really sets in. I take off my gloves for a final pic of the waning forest light, and regret it immediately. A last flock of Sandhill Cranes flies over in the dusk – where will they spend the night?
Happy New Year!