November 10, 2010

A Walk in the Woods: After Rain

It is very unusual for me to present two posts in a row about things I've seen in the woods, but today was such a beautiful day and the subject ephemeral, so I couldn't resist sharing this with you. I am used to seeing shallow pools of water in scattered places throughout the woods in spring, as the snow melts and the ground begins to thaw. They are called vernal pools, which I wrote about here. These more unusual fall pools come after a month of heavy rains; I recorded over 11 inches in my rain gauge for October. The water has brought the color of leaves back to life, with red and gold alongside the deep blue reflection of the sky.

A marvelous sight: tiny club shaped mushrooms, probably some kind of earth tongue, catching the light, looking like soft sparse hair on a bald pate.

This is a vivid illustration of the power of water to rejuvenate dried leaves, cool gray turned into warmth.

I pass a rivulet that runs in spring and dries up during summer. It is now burbling again, adding its soothing sound to the landscape, more delight to what was a marvelous day.


  1. Wondrous, Altoon! Say, have you seen the current Frank Stella show at the Hood Museum in Hanover, "Irregular Polygons": reminiscent of your shaped ruglets. ( I liked your Fairbanks Museum post, I've never been there)

  2. Both these woodsy walks are wonderful. We've left dead trees in our garden as snags for the critters a couple of times; only taking them down when they become really weak and dangerous. Then we use them to edge the paths. I love the patterns of the holes in the trees. Alas, we have a woodpecker who has suddenly taken a liking to our wood siding and I'm concerned I will walk out one morning to see similar patterns!

    The last image of the rock in the stream is very similar to the mossy rock we recently posted. Same kind of thing — head size and shape sticking up out of the water.

  3. Gail, thank you, and thanks for the heads up on the Stella show. I looked at the images online and I should definitely try to see it.

    Linda, glad you like my recent wanderings. Dead trees are so important to wildlife, so it's nice to hear that you use them in your garden. I hope that woodpecker give up on the house. and, those rocky 'heads' sticking up out of water are a great image.

  4. Earth tongues: oh la, la!
    I am so jealous of your rain: we've basically had only a few inconsequential showers since July. That means no spectacular fall color. But more worrisome are the effects of the drought. I am concerned that a few of my well-established favorite shrubs (Arnolds Promise Witchhazel and Mareseii Doublefile Viburnum) may literally bite the dust in Spring since I do no supplemental watering.

  5. Julie, I'm surprised you have drought there; I would have thought our weather got to you first before heading east. I hope your plants are okay.