Tag Archives: Project365

To boldly crawl…

Last week I posted a few photos that I took at an area I call “the duck pond”. As I was looking through the photos, I noticed that the fallen tree across the pond had what appeared to be bits of red on the crown. It was some distance away from me so I had not noticed it when shooting. Even in the photograph, I could not tell if these were leaves that had not fallen off the branches or if the tree, though uprooted, was budding.

On Friday, in what may rank as one of the most stupid things I’ve done this year, I decided to find out. As I approached the duck pond, I wandered off the trail and towards the area of the bank where the tree’s root end was. The opposite side of the pond is a difficult to traverse thicket and I was not certain that I could reach the bank. As I approached the tree, I still could not tell exactly what was hanging from the limbs. I was awed by the size of the upended root; it was about 9 feet tall. I’m not sure what inspired — or perhaps possessed — me, but I decided to see if I could climb on to the tree. I put down my pack and placed my camera on the tree trunk. Then, using moves that might have made a final cut in an America’s Funniest Dance Videos competition, I tried to shimmy up the trunk and on to the tree.

I must pause here to give you a bit of backstory. When I was a child, frequently we would play in the woods and along the creeks in our neighborhood. I was always afraid to climb on to any log and I was never able to climb a tree. A combination of fear of heights — which is really a fear of falling — and an almost complete lack of any sort of athletic coordination skills taught me at an early age that I should not even bother to attempt such a feat. Being teased for my unwillingness was always the better option.  Nothing in the ensuing decades should have convinced me that I could now do such a thing.

Yet, somehow, I made it on to the tree without getting wet or knocking my camera into the murky pond. The tree trunk was thick and I could barely straddle it.  It was too rough, though,  to simply crawl on my hands and knees. Slowly, cautiously, I moved along the trunk, catching my pants on the rough bark a few times. After about fifteen feet, I decided to look down. I saw my reflection in the cold water. It yelled “STUPID!!!” at me. I realized that my phone was in my back pocket. I calculated what would happen if I fell in the water: my phone would be ruined; my camera could be ruined too; and I would be cold, wet, and muddy for the nearly two-mile walk home.

But, I didn’t crawl out there for nothing! Though still some distance away, I could tell that the tree had buds. I shot a few pictures of the branches and even one of the interesting water plants that are starting to poke their heads above the waterline. Then, very carefully, I moved in reverse back to the bank. I didn’t chance trying to turn around.

Later, on my walk, I found another tree with these buds. I took a sample home to photograph later. I believe this is a silver maple. Silver maples are plentiful around here. I think I even have a few in my yard. I know how to identify them by their leaves, or with the ever-present, gutter-clogging samara that whirl through the air in late Spring, but I never noticed what the flower buds on the tree looked like. Yet another example of noticing something in nature that I hadn’t before, even though it has been there all the time.

Fallen Silver Maple Over The Pond

Roots of tree

Roots, from a different angle. Those branches look closer than they really are.

Red bud closeup. Was difficult to keep the camera still from where I was perched.

Didn't I see this in a Dr. Seuss book?

Cold water; cool reflections

The Moon Doesn’t Care About Day Light Savings Time

March Full Moon, Just before Moonset

Known and Unknown … Early Spring Signs

The Unknowns:

Sometimes I see things in the woods that I have no idea what they are. Sometimes I wonder how I even notice them. Like this little flower, on a green plant growing close to the ground. This teeny clump of flowers was smaller than the nail on my little finger.

Teeny tiny flower

Much easier to notice, but still a mystery to me are these red plants growing in a marshy area. Do you know what these swamp creatures are?

Swamp Things, Dancing in the Sunlight

They don’t grow only in water, as pictured below. While this was wet and muddy, it was definitely on shore.

Growing on dry but muddy, marshy land

I first noticed these unusual red growths back in December. The first time I saw one, it seemed to jump out, shouting Notice me!  Since them, I’ve noticed many of them. These seem to be an abnormality on these canes, but there are many of them. They seem to be located along a particular 1/2 mile section of the creek. While I find these thorny plants elsewhere, I don’t find the bumpy red growth on them. Could it be that the soil is different in this part? It is more of a marsh-like area, but it isn’t nearer to the water than elsewhere, though the bank is lower and more likely to flood.

Red Growth on Vine with Frost

Another view: different plant, same type of growth.

Another one, on a warmer day

The Known, but easily unnoticed:

The first yellow burst open yesterday. The other daffodils followed today.

First of the Season

Unless you look closely, you won’t notice that the trees are starting to bud. Most still don’t look green, but I’ve seen a few bushes and trees with red or yellow branches that are starting to show color.

Budding Tree, Blue Sky

The viburnum bush outside my study window has leaves that often turn an orange-red color in the fall. This year it seems that it never lost its green color. It’s early, but the buds are starting to emerge. In about a month, when I open my window, the scent will be lovely at first, then overpowering like some granny’s flowery perfume.

Viburnum beginning

The Moon Is An Eyeball

Today was a beautiful day, the kind of day when you leave the house in the morning and wonder if maybe it wasn’t a bad decision not bringing a hat, but by noon you’ve ditched your coat; by late afternoon, you want to ride around in a convertible. And, then, this evening, as the sun was setting and I was prepping dinner, a nearly full moon was rising in the east on a soft blanket of deep blue sky.  By the time I went outside with my camera, the last rays of daylight had been extinguished, but the moon was shining brightly through the trees.

I set up the tripod and experimented with a few different settings, fumbling in the dark to figure out the remote I bought recently.  The air had a burnt wood smell about it, a mixture of old leaves, a few puffs from someone’s furnace, several grills, and the fumes from motorcycles speeding down the parkway.  The last of winter giving way to Spring scent was fitting for a day when I saw my first daffodil in bloom.   I’ll have to sneak over to my neighbor’s garden tomorrow to take photos, unless mine bloom by then.  The moon  was lovely looking and I liked the way that it illuminated the still bare trees.

The Farmers’ Almanac tell me that among the several names for the March Moon are Full Worm Moon, Full Crow Moon, Full Crust Moon, Full Sap Moon, or the Lenten Moon.   Whatever the name, it is the last moon of winter, and brings in, along with the tides, Spring.

My camera, however, cannot seem to capture any of these things. Based on the images, I am tempted to rename it The Full Eyeball Moon, as it reminds me of the odd, almost indiscernible, pictures of your retina the ophthalmologist shows you. My photographic experience thus far tells me that I do a much better job of capturing the moon when it is in the daylit heavens. No matter though: Spring is in the air and I light the sight, sound, smell, and feel of that.

The Eyeball Moon of March

The Moon: Daylit; A few days ago

Down the trail & around the duck pond

I took a six-mile walk today, with a not-too-heavy backpack as part of my ramping up training for a longer, multi-day hike in the future. I didn’t have much with me besides water & my camera equipment (a couple of lenses, rather than just one on the camera body). But, absent-mindedly, I did not check the charge on my battery before I left. It was a good walk on a cold day and I didn’t stop for many photographs.

Before the battery lost its charge, I was able to watch a pair of ducks on the pond. I’ve seen them here several times recently. Still kicking myself over the battery, as the light was probably as good as it gets in this location and the ducks didn’t seem to be interested in flying anywhere. It won’t be long before there are hatchlings following them around in the pond.

Heads up!

Go fish!

The duck pond. Not sure where the nest is, but it must be nearby.

As I wandered past the duck pond, around the bend towards one of my favorite places on the trail, I was stunned.


I find this so disrespectful of not only nature and the park, but also to all who might use the park. This was taken with my cruddy rotary-dial cell phone so it isn’t the best look at this enormous pile that looks like it was 1/2 of a good-sized pickup truck. I imagine that someone drove off the road, down the greenway trail and dumped this in the dead of night.

It made me think, though. I didn’t have any problems with the graffiti I photographed the other day. That is on the edge of this park. Is it because it is under a bridge, out of sight? Or that it is something that I consider “art”? I wouldn’t consider it in the same category as some jerk who couldn’t have been bothered to take his old roof to the dump, or follow the rules for heavy trash pickup, but aren’t both violations of the law and of property?

As I returned home, I looked for a bamboo pole that I saw stuck in the ground along the edge of the woods the other day. I’m not sure why it was there. It sort of looked like a walking stick, but was secured so that it would stand upright in the ground. Perhaps there was something on the top of it at one time like a sign. Maybe it was a memorial, like the plastic cross and stuffed teddy bears that have been near the boat ramp for about a year.

Since I was along the water’s edge, I decided to look once more for the turtle shell that I saw a few weeks ago. I had wanted to take pictures of it, but didn’t have my camera with me that day. I left the shell where it was and covered it with a few leaves, intending to go back in a few days with my camera. I have now looked on three different hikes for the remains, walking up and down the same section of the creek several times, tripping over vines and stepping in mud. The other day there was a man nearby. I saw that he had a GPS device, so I assume that he was geocaching. I thought about what I might say if he got close enough to me. Don’t worry. I’m not looking for your cache. I didn’t mark the coordinates of my treasure and I buried it too efficiently.

I was just about to give up, having told myself that maybe some kid found it and thought it was a great find. I too had thought it was great — good enough to spend a few hours trying to find it again. Suddenly, there it was: not near a tree at all, but in the same general area that I know I have walked recently. Perhaps it wasn’t the same box turtle shell. Maybe another one had died nearby. Whether it was the same or not didn’t matter. I took out that old junky phone and snapped a few photos.

Pieces of terrapene carolinas carolinas

From the size of the shell, I would think that he was an old turtle

Looks like a small chicken bone

A different view of the carapace

I took the photos and then picked up the pieces. I want to take better shots of this, but didn’t want to risk not being able to find it again. Once I photograph it, I’ll put it back in my backpack and return it to the woods. As I approached the last 1/2 mile I saw the bamboo pole. I picked it up and took it. I’ve thought of doing something with it, following with what Stephen MacInnis is doing at Painter’s Progress for his “Wednesday Idea”.

Now I have to think about where I want to leave a piece of artwork. While I can clearly state that my intentions of leaving this along the trail is for art, for adding beauty and pleasure and perhaps making someone smile, what if what I did ended up being viewed as nothing more than a pile of junk, like the roofing material? While I’m sure that wasn’t left as an “art project”, is it the intent of the creator or the perception of the person who finds it whether it is just added litter in a park?

Sunday Quote (2012 Week 10)

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls” –– Joseph Campbell.

Brown Anole displaying throat fan

Beginning this month, PBS is airing the 1988 Bill Moyers’ 6-part series with Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth. Check your local listings for times this fabulous series will be shown in your area  and click on this link to hear Moyers & Campbell discuss mythological types in Star Wars.

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Banksy Wasn’t Under the Bridge

This gallery contains 14 photos.

But some other artists were. Or, rather, their work is still under the bridge. I find this stuff fascinating on so many levels. The questions whirl through my brain: Why would someone do this? Why underneath the bridge? How risky … Continue reading

The forest of fighting trees

One of the scariest moments for me as a child was watching the fighting trees in The Wizard of Oz.  Trees with evil faces!  Trees that talked!  Trees that would scold you for picking parts of them off their trunks!

That such a forest existed seemed entirely plausible to me because I believed that the trees in our neighborhood, though not mean, grouchy trees like those Dorothy encountered, had personalities. Especially on windy days when the branches would bend and groan, I would be careful not to get too close.

For the last few years, while driving through the different neighborhoods in the city, I have seen tress that bear resin pieces that resemble faces on their trunks. Although they remind me of the Free Apples scene in The Wizard of Oz, I think they’re a bit stupid and I have never understood why a property owner would want to place these on their trees. I’ve often wondered if the faces came to life and spoke for the tree, if the tree might not object for having a piece of weather-resistant plastic nailed to its trunk.

The other day, when walking along the greenway, I realized that one of the house that borders the trail — the trail is little more than a sidewalk at that point, running adjacent to their property– had several trees with these resin faces. Along with the security cameras and the “NO Trespassing” signs, these faces may have been placed as a modern-day equivalent to the sign that warned Dorothy and her friends to “Turn Back While You Still Can”.

The wise old man of the trees


The one looks a big weary of guarding the place.

Is his name Wilford Brimley? Does he want some oatmeal?

While they may have been put there to serve as a warning, they just make me smile. There are about 20 trees in the parkway that have these decorations attached. I wouldn’t think of harming any of them. After all, those branches may just spring to life and grab me.

Curious, I searched for a site online that might have information on these resin faces. “It’s easy to add character and personality to your trees” one site claimed. No, thank you! I think I’ll stick with the real thing. My trees already have personalities. Some of them even seem to have faces. I found this natural version further down the greenway, on a trail section that is a bit more wild.

Nature's own Tree Face

Note: Don’t get upset with me over the You-Tube video title. I didn’t title it and wouldn’t slap a vegan any more than I would slap a tree.

Sunday Quote (2012 Week 9)

As the Chinese proverb puts it:

If you want happiness for an hour—take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day—go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year—inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime—help someone else.

– from Happiness by Joan Chittister (Eerdmans)

Winter Sunset, Boone County, Indiana