Sunday, May 20, 2012

Wildlife at Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park

I'm not sure what this little guy is, but he caught my eye. It was in an area near standing water, and the mosquitoes were quite active. Not this guy. He simply clung to a fallen tree, on which I saw no other bugs. The tree was all his (or hers). It has a shrimp-like body. Whether or not it flies, I cannot say.

This is a damselfly, a relative of the dragonfly. There were many of these buzzing around the small creek that runs through the park, which is quite low now. Damselflies feed on other insects, and have been known to pick spiders right out of their web! Although I didn't see that action directly, there is some evidence that this may have happened in the photo on the right: the spider was not in the web pictured next to the damselfly.

Fern Gully. It was properly named for the ferns, but misleading, as this area was rich with ticks. I stooped to move a stick for a better shot of a lizard on the ground, but the lizard didn't move. As I stood, there was a large adult deer tick crawling over the hairs on my arm, which I stupidly did not photograph! Anyway, there was another on my sock, and for the next hundred yards I was very itchy. No other bugs were found on my person, only a few webs.

I cannot see the forest for the trees, and it is a beautiful thing. Bugs or not, the forest is a world that will always have my love and respect. It turns the sunlight, water, and dirt into a world of life. We can take the hardwood, emulsify the softwood, and pave the rest, but in the end, the forest will return.

Below is the inverted tree. Another perspective that I dare not keep to myself. It turns my head upside down to think of how the trees may grow down instead of up.

Filmy dome spider, or Nariene radiata. I saw more than one of these critters in dead trees. At first I thought the appearance of the web might be happenstance, but another spider of the same tribe had the same architecture. Google answered my questions about this little forest feature.

Here was the confirmation web.
Gold silk orb-weaver, or Nephila clavipes. This little critter came out of the Jurassic period, some 165 million years back. It is a horribly beautiful thing. When you walk through its web, the silk breaks like a strand of hair, often with an audible pop. Walking into one of their webs is not a pleasant event. Their silk is extremely adhesive in addition to strong, and so much so that their web is a wealth of knowledge for biochemical researchers. Amino acid architecture in their silk give it the unique properties that terrify many hikers--myself included. Like I said, they are horribly beautiful.
I couldn't resist a close-up. Even though I am arachnophobia, they are amazing creatures. The fear of them draws me closer, because the terror of their long legs and many eyes is so overwhelming. Anything with that many legs and eyes as well as its lethal webbing... 

This fallen tree offers homes to thousands of insects before it returns to the soil and feeds the next generation of plant life. It is the tree of life.

Enjoy life and life will enjoy you.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

Mother's day goes back to the Greeks and Romans, and probably long before that. A day of the annual solar cycle for those who carried life for nine months and raised their child for many years after that. Self-healing DNA twisting and turning until a heart forms, eyes, brain, fingers and toes. A beautiful lily for mother is a wonderful way to reflect on all that she has done; starting from sperm and egg, forming the bulb that will develop another flower to feed the bees that make our honey, the hummingbird that brings inspiration.

Pentas, or Egyptian Star Cluster, or Pentas lanceolata. This bountiful flower adds vibrance to the day of mothers. Luckily my mother already has an abundance of flowers, so the florist is not essential for this holiday.

Friday, May 4, 2012

New Visions

The face of the pirate had--and has--many shapes and colors. On the water, they faced the same hardships that every sailor faced. Discipline and order gave them strength and longevity as it did any other sailor. In the glory days of European exploration, pirates formed egalitarian democracies. Modern pirates exist both at sea and online. Online pirates offer the world access to an egalitarian position with regard to information--and thus education and intelligence. The essence of piracy has not changed since it began: stealing from corrupt and immoral governments and corporations.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Garden of Choice


The hourglass of time is a sickening device that spins on its own accord. When you glance at its core, the mind is twisted with its spinning madness. Looking away after that moment is pointless, because that is all that can be seen. Its shape or colors might have changed, but the emptiness of life stains your vision eternally.

Partial Dimensions