Doors of Memory

When I review my observations, the doors of memory swing open to me. Doors of friendship, adventure, wonder, seasons, and geography. iNat provides a map of where I have been and what inhabits the landscape. Some of the photos are reminders of who I traveled with to share that view. Weather, smoke, and fire appear in the photos reminding me of the conditions. Photographs of wet mushrooms remind me of how I squatted in the grass on a cold, rainy winter day and took photographs until my cell phone was too cold and wet to work. Under dry skies and in golden fields, I drank the scent of tarweed which is tied to my childhood memories of hot summer days with heat shimmering the air above the fields and thousands of stickers in my tall white socks. More than once, I tucked those socks deep into the garbage can rather than hurting my fingers by picking them all out.

Two great fires this year drove me to the coast for better air. Still, the yellowed skies colored the photographs. Fine ash dulled the surfaces of nearly every plant. The magnificent coastal Douglas Firs testified to the continuity of life and lives lasting far longer than mine. Just north of Sonoma County, the Meyer's fire scar blackened the grass down to the ocean cliffs and testified that all things end. 

This past Sunday, we visited Sugarloaf Ridge State Park to gawk at the landscapes both burned and unburned. A coyote on a bare burned hill spotted us and galloped to the safety of the scorched tree line. Behind us a chorus of coyotes sang out calling it. The fire colored landscape is exotic, alien, and becoming all too familiar. The trees with dull yellowed leaves and blackened trunks rise from the dirt, blackened grass, and ash white ghosts of trees that burned to dust. A shockingly blue sky behind the trees makes them pretty. The remaining unburned brush and trees lends green touches to this landscape. In the unburned park, a dried Mule's Ears seed head, fallen leaves, and the near absence of butterflies filled me with anticipation of spring. Spring brings the amazing Juicy Fruit gum scent of that fire follower Whispering Bells. And, I will never forget sitting among Bird's Eye Gilia on Bald Mountain bathing my senses in their aroma and purple color. The view and the flowers were unlike anything I had experienced before. I was bathed in wonder.

I do not have to close my eyes to imagine spring. The picture is already there. The wondrous lupine will leap up en masse as they did after the 2019 fires. In a landscape burned clean of the detritus of last season's grass, the flowers appear as if in a pristine garden. Their color and form are clearly visible delighting both the eyes and the heart.

Fortunately, I have discovered mushrooms in the off season from butterflies and flowers. Do you know there are mushrooms like tiny nests filled with eggs that splash out spore when it rains? It's called Bird's Nest Fungi. Goodness knows what I might encounter in the damp this year. Adventure beckons.

Anotado por arlenedevitt arlenedevitt, 05 de noviembre de 2020 a las 08:40 PM

Observaciones

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Coyote (Canis latrans)

Autor

arlenedevitt

Fecha

Octubre 31, 2020 10:44 PM PDT

Descripción

When the coyote spotted us from its open position in the burned field, it quickly headed for the tree line and melted away. A pack of coyotes on the opposite side of the creek raised their voices in chorus possibly calling to this individual.

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Mariposa Ojo de Venado de California (Junonia grisea)

Autor

arlenedevitt

Fecha

Octubre 31, 2020 11:44 PM PDT

Descripción

Very few insects were noted today. A few flies, a few Buckeyes, and possible a Mylitta Crescent butterfly. The insect population seems to take a significant hit during these fires.

Fotos / Sonidos

Autor

arlenedevitt

Fecha

Octubre 31, 2020 11:59 PM PDT

Descripción

The Mule's Ears seed heads are still pretty to behold even in the fall.