Sunday, September 6, 2009

Woods Walking

There is almost nothing else I like to do more than to go for a walk in the woods. The act can instantly paint a dark mood brighter, enliven my mind, and restore my spirit.

After our butterfly release, we went to the Clinton Community Nature Center with friends for a short program about arachnids (spiders and scorpions, oh my!). My son spotted a large spider hanging about 4 ft above us from a web stretched across the path from tree to tree. We tried to photograph it, but it was too high.

The loblolly pine that looks like an elephant head is nicknamed the elephant tree with its trunk reaching high into the sky. This tree reminds me of the walking and talking trees and magical animals that appear in the books of C.S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.

We visited the butterfly garden hoping to see some of our black swallowtails, but there were only yellowish/green butterflies quickly fluttering from flower to flower. I think they were colias philodice or clouded common sulfurs seen here from caterpillar to butterfly. It was difficult to photograph them because they were so flighty. The meadow area was abuzz with singing insects, but it was also hotter in the open sunlight. For amateur butterfly identification, I found this internet guide helpful.

When I was a girl, I sometimes walked in the woods with my family and grandparents at a small farm in central Arkansas on Saturday or Sunday afternoons. There were no trails but there were lots of leaves carpeting the floor of the woods. My grandfather knew the names of the trees and the birds. He was not a hunter, but he was an amateur naturalist. I think I may have inherited some of his nature genes, and I hope I am passing them on to my children each time we go woods walking.

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1 comment:

Jen said...

Big Charlie read about this program online yesterday morning, and we briefly considered going... My fear of spiders ruled the day, though...