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May 4th Photos

The Last Visit

I was fortunate to have another rain-free day for what I think will be my last visit of the year to my phenology spot in Centennial woods. I decided to bring a friend with me this time, out to see the newly sprouted ferns and young trees that are just beginning to show tiny leaves after forming buds. The walk was exceptionally muddy; no doubt the soil had become saturated with rain from the past few days, to the point where each footstep landed a hearty squelch. Since my visit last week, nothing much has changed – things are more green, for sure, more vibrantly so, and there seems to be more moss, but for the most part there is nothing new or surprising.

We sit on the fallen log I’ve put in many pictures on this blog, the one that overlooks the huge oak in the center of my place. It’s a little damp, but in the surprisingly warm air it’s pleasant to touch. The birds are considerably more active today. There isn’t a moment of quiet. The air is mostly dominated by the throaty caws of two crows who dance about each other in the trees, bobbing forwards off of branches almost as if they’re bowing to each other. A chickadee sings off in the distance, and I can periodically hear the tapping of the woodpecker on one of the pine trees in the stand behind us. It’s comforting to see the woods so full of life again. I have to admit, some of the winter visits left me uneasy and sad in their silence and greyness, and I welcome the lively birdsong. There are some chirps and whistles I don’t recognize, but due to my proximity to the nearby Marsh, I guess at the existence of a red-winged blackbird.

Over the months, not only has this place been a hub of learning and quiet observation, but I have grown attached to it. Often, in times of stress or anxiety over the semester, I have sought out the very log I sat on earlier today to clear my thoughts and be within the trees. I have always felt a part of the woods and the forest wherever I go, because I just see nature as a thing that humans are intrinsically apart of, but the greater meaning of being specifically a part of THIS place is different. During the first semester, I was only an occasional visitor. I came to take photos and examine the leaves as they turned from green to yellow to red to brown, watched as they fell from the arms of their trees. I studied the soft prints in the snow, and gradually, as my frequency to this area continued to grow, I felt more and more connected to it. Nature and culture, for me, at least, are always entwined. I derive so much enjoyment and calm from nature, recreate in nature, tell stories about nature and have rooted the beginning of what I hope to be my life’s work in nature – and now this place, because I have made it so special has become a part of me. I will never forget it. Because of that, I have also become a part of it.

Pictures from April 25th

Late April Showers & Late April Flowers

I got lucky on Thursday, the 25th, for a break in the rain. The sun peeked through the clouds, and the earth warmed up just a little bit as I walked down to Centennial in the mid afternoon. It was around 3 o’clock, the sun still high in the sky – I can’t help but feel like I’ve missed the days slowly brightening. The rain recently has choked everything else out, clouds filling and blurring the sky with greyness and water. I know we need it, though. Despite the complaints from many about mud season, the energy and revitalization of the plants is so evident.

Shocks of green pressed up through the dirt, the trees seeming even warmer in color despite only really having the beginnings of their buds. I noticed no trees that were starting to sprout leaves yet, but all the low-lying vegetation and smaller plants had started to become so green. It was a relief, almost, to see all the plantlife alive and starting to come back after what seemed like an endless, snow-covered winter – dare I say something right out of Game of Thrones. Many of the plants beginning to poke through as sprouts were unfamiliar to me, but I did manage to recognize a select few. Among the newcomers grew Ostrich Fern, dandelions, and the beginnings of other plants such as fiddleheads and wildflowers.

As for the birds, in the break from the rain, I got to see a few exciting species. A cardinal, bright red and proud, fluttered on the far end of the area I call home to my phenology blog, no doubt searching for a mate. Crows always seem to hang around in the trees, their throaty croaks often drowning out the soft trill of the chickadees that make their home in and around Centennial Woods, one of which I got to see as well. Centennial is a great place, additionally, for finding bugs, as many wet/thick logs lay criss-crossed throughout my phenology blog area. Pill bugs, centipedes, slugs, and many other creatures reside underneath these logs, relying on the decay for a food source in some cases. It certainly is a feast for many types of birds, who often eat insects for meals.

Pictures from March Snowstorm

Map to Thanksgiving Phenology Place

Map of Phenology Area

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