Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My attention, divided

It was Friday, our next to last day at the New River Birding and Nature Festival. On one hand I was tired from a week so full of activity and learning, but on the other hand, I was not ready for this week to end. For one thing, I had spent very little time wandering the property of Opossum Creek Retreat. Nestled back in the woods, there was plenty to see just within a short walk from our cabin.

Our cabin at Opossum Creek. It felt just like home (except substitute oaks and maples for all the hemlocks).

Granted, I had poked my nose and my camera here and there, but there was still much more wooded bliss to be explored. One thing that both Nina and I wanted to check out was a small colony of Pennywort Gentian that was verified to be in flower by our buddy Jim McCormac. He gave us some rather cryptic directions as to where to find the colony on a hillside above the laundry facilities ("There's a downed log with a long stick propped up against it," he said. Sorry, Jim, but there were LOTS of downed logs with what appeared to be long sticks propped up against them!). Eventually, we found the little white beauties poking their heads out of the leaf litter. Nina and I spread out to each find our own little patch of flowers to work with (you can see Nina's Pennywort Gentian photos, along with a Blue-grey Gnatcatcher and a teeny, tiny spider HERE).

Pennywort Gentian, Obolaria virginica

Twin Gentians

I was supposed to be concentrating on the gentian, but I kept getting distracted by the delicate, fragile, skeletal remains of decomposing leaves.

This lacework is all that's left of a leaf in the process of breaking down, giving of itself back to the soil. Notice in the bottom of the photo a new Pennywort flower attempting to break through the leaf litter.

Same leaf, different angles

Even while the flowers bloom, the leaves vie for my attention.

Never have I seen the process of decomposition look so beautiful.

And so it goes, a quick walk in the woods to find one thing...

... quickly turns into a journey into a completely different world.

And so it goes.


KaHolly said...

Sounds like a wonderful week. The pictures of the pennywort are so pretty, but I am esp. taken with the decomposing leaf. Your photos of it are exquisite! Wouldn't they make beautiful wall art? ~karen

Kelly said...

I really have been enjoying reading everyone's account of the trip. It sounds like a fantastic place to bird and botanize! (I would have been torn between the winter's lace and spring's finery too!)

Judy said...

Wonderful shots of the leaves turning to lace!!!