Grandma and her offspring’s offspring lit out for Classic Movie night at the theater. I get to sit in the backyard, write a column, and watch fireflies.
I recall lying across the hammock with a granddaughter, watching a pair of bats flutter about, hoovering mosquitoes and other such morsels. Granddaughter is all grown up and moved away. Maybe she still watches bats and fireflies.
A feral cat – there are a bunch of them around here – dropped by for a drink from the electric stream, resumed his tour and darn near ran into me. I’d been sitting still and he had other things on his mind, so he didn’t know I was there until he was about six inches from my leg.
Discovering his lapse in situational awareness, he scrambled about halfway across the yard before stopping to look back at me, appearing to be blaming me for his mistake. I’ve met people like that. I guess it’s something else we share with other critters.
Which stirs up some summery memories as I converse quietly with myself, telling me stories I don’t want to forget.
A bunch of years ago, I would have spent a goodly part of the day on the lake. We had a 14-foot aluminum rowboat from which I enjoyed fishing. I always have had an affinity for canoes, so I sat on the pointy end of the rowboat and, substituting an oar for a paddle, negotiated my way among the lily pads, always wondering what treasures lay beneath the crystal clear liquid.
I sometimes wondered what denizens of that world thought of the object floating by overhead, the way I think of airplanes passing over my head. Do fish wonder what worlds exist beyond the banks of the 500-acre lake? Do they look up at the bottom of my boat the way I look at a passing plane, and wonder what holds it up there, where it came from and where it might be going?
I now have a canoe and a kayak, but sometimes I just like to find a creek to wade into, to feel the water passing by. I know about the water cycle and water from the ocean returning to the mountains as snow and rain – but questions remain: where did the water come from, really, and are there critters in it with tales to tell about their journey?
I wander in the forest and wonder at the stories to be told by the critters and plants growing there. Trees, we have discovered, talk with each other. They discuss the weather, and last year’s fire season, and warn each other, with varying degrees of apparent effectiveness, of an impending attack by Spruce beetles, Spotted Lantern Flies or drought.
Recently, I have learned of the communications network formed underground by the roots of fungi, which I have been seeking as subjects of photographic art as well as, if one has the confidence of knowledge, food. For instance, I have started consciously looking for Chicken of the Wood.
Someone I met last year gave me a piece to try. I did, and now I want to find more.
Folks might have noticed I rarely specify where I find things. That would take the fun out of the detective work for folks attempting to follow. A big part of the fun of finding things is the finding. Going to a known spot and picking up the booty is like visiting the grocery store. Looking for it is an opportunity to see things I didn’t even know were there. Maybe we will meet in the forest, looking for things we did not know were there.
Thanks for coming along for the trip. Please take a few seconds to share it with friends, and help build our audience. I’ll be forever grateful for the support.