Friday, November 30, 2012

Home Security

When you're a tiny bird building a nest to raise a family sometime the best thing to do is find a patch of brambles and thorns and perch your tiny home directly in the middle.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Heavy, November Sky

My sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted gray
Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise. 

My November Guest by Robert Frost

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Top of the Morning Bluebird

A female bluebird hunts a field for seeds and other delicacies this morning.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Full of Holes

Now that the leaves are off the trees I have spotted once again one of the most interesting trees in the Indiana Dunes. It's a tree full of holes in rows.

The answer may be in another blog I follow or then again, it may not. The mystery continues but whether bird or insect or both are to blame, you would have to agree that this tree surely is a conversation piece?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Misty Prism

A misty morning air created a prism for the rising sun, sprinkling the air with rainbows.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thundering Thanks to the Mayflower!

Thunder our thanks to her guns, hearts, and lips!
Cheer from the ranks to her,
Shout from the banks to her—
Mayflower! Foremost and best of our ships.

Mayflower! Twice in the national story
Thy dear name in letters of gold—
Woven in texture that never grows old—
Winning a home and winning glory!
Sailing the years to us, welcomed for aye;
Cherished for centuries, dearest to-day.
Every heart throbs for her, every flag dips—
Mayflower! First and last, best of our ships.

White as a seagull, she swept the long passage.
True as the homing-bird flies with its message.
Love her? O, richer than silk every sail of her.
Trust her? More precious than gold every nail of her.
Write we down faithfully every man’s part in her;
Greet we all gratefully every true heart in her.
More than a name to us, sailing the fleetest,
Symbol of that which is purest and sweetest:
More than a keel to us, steering the straightest,
Emblem of that which is freest and greatest:
More than a dove-bosomed sail to the windward,
Flame passing on while the night-clouds fly hindward.
Kiss every plank of her! None shall take rank of her;
Frontward or weatherward, none can eclipse.
Thunder our thanks to her! Cheer from the banks to her!
Mayflower! Foremost and best of our ships!

Mayflower by John Boyle O'Reilly

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wounds of the Tree

Many trees lost limbs during a recent wind storm. This pine tree is oozing with sap. I made the mistake of touching the sticky stuff. Two hours later my fingers were still sticking together---maybe there's a stronger kind of Sticky Note there somewhere.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Lone November Butterfly

Flitting along the trail Saturday was this lone butterfly---like a flying slice of butter, so out of the ordinary for November.

It isn't likely that it will find a friend this late in the season. It was healthy and could fly, so perhaps it will migrate to a warmer clime.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Milkweed Giving Seeds to the Wind

It was a windy day and it was if the milkweed plants all had the same idea---open up the seed pods. And to the wind they gave the next generation of plants.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Time to Fly

The geese silently watched as I took pictures and then decided they'd had enough. It was time to go.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Buck at Dusk

The days are getting so short that my walks sometimes happen at dusk. This buck was tremendously beautiful and adamant that he was not going to give up the trail to anything---especially not to a human with two little dogs.

Normally deer will run off. Sometimes you get one that will only wander off. This guy stood in the middle of the trail and hissed.

He wasn't moving. Every time I moved, he would stand tall and hiss. Sometimes he would move towards me as if to challenge.

I turned around and went back the way I had come. He was bigger and more obstinate than I.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Before the Storm

Wild one,
Take me in your whirl,
In your giddy reel,
In your shot-like leaps and flights.
Hear me call—stop and hear.
I know you, blusterer; I know you, wild one—
I know your mysterious call.

Storm by Max Michelson

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Not Sleeping Yet

Mid trail and not much bigger around than a blade of grass, this snake sat looking at me. In fact the first indication that I had that he was there was that I felt his eyes upon me.

It was a warm November Day and he was a baby fighting his winter nap---putting it off for another day.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Stormy Weather

Saturday's forecast---sunny and warm; a wonderful November day. After hiking into the Dunes a couple of hours I heard thunder. Once I got to Lake Michigan there was spectacular lightning show coming from the Chicago, Illinois area. The lake was a color that was bluer than blue.

The rain caught up with me on my hike out; a day full of this amazing earth and a reminder that the troubles of man are really so small after all.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Star Fossils

In an Indiana stream I found a remnant of another epoch.

This rock, full of fossils, some with middles in the shape of perfect tiny stars; I left right where it was for others to treasure.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Autumns Bounty

The song birds are busy filling up on these seeds---Cardinals, Blue Jays, and Chickadees are all hanging out and fattening up on the bounty.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Gray Shore

A lone gray bird,
Dim-dipping, far-flying,
Alone in the shadows and grandeurs and tumults
Of night and the sea
And the stars and storms.

Out over the darkness it wavers and hovers,
Out into the gloom it swings and batters,
Out into the wind and the rain and the vast,
Out into the pit of a great black world,
Where fogs are at battle, sky-driven, sea-blown,
Love of mist and rapture of flight,
Glories of chance and hazards of death
On its eager and palpitant wings.

Out into the deep of the great dark world,
Beyond the long borders where foam and drift
Of the sundering waves are lost and gone
On the tides that plunge and rear and crumble.

From the Shore by Carl Sandburg

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Mushroom Pretty as a Flower

Beautiful mushroom poking up through the forest floor---a flower of the fall.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Carving out a New Beach

On grey days Lake Michigan reflects the grey sky so well that it's difficult to tell where the lake ends and the sky begins.

Hurricane Sandy's foot print was so large that she reached as far inland as the southern shores of Lake Michigan where she moved so much of the dune sand that a different beach is here for us to explore.  

Monday, November 5, 2012

Re-engineering the Bog

Keeping Cowles Bog a bog is a task that requires constant maintenance and diligence against invasive plants. Here's one of the trails the park staff uses to get to the center of the bog to pull invasives and plant native species.

Visitors to the park can help with the effort by following the park signs that state which trails are for park staff only. A pair of hiking shoes can contain thousands of tiny seeds that can bring invasives back into the bog cycle.

A giant dune, a mountain of movable sand, can be seen in the distance of this picture.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Year Passes

The winds blowing in from the East Coast Hurricane stripped the leaves from all the trees as far inland as the Indiana forests. Few  leaves pictured here are still waiting to fall and we are preparing for winter as another year passes.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hidden Heart

A missed focus of this picture created an unexpected view of the leaf underneath. Don't you love it?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Forest Trail

As one dark morn I trod a forest glade,
A sunbeam enter’d at the further end,
And ran to meet me thro’ the yielding shade
As one, who in the distance sees a friend,
And, smiling, hurries to him; but mine eyes,
Bewilder’d by the change from dark to bright,
Receiv’d the greeting with a quick surprise
At first, and then with tears of pure delight;
For sad my thoughts had been—the tempest’s wrath
Had gloom’d the night, and made the morrow gray;
That heavenly guidance humble sorrow hath,
Had turn’d my feet into that forest-way,
Just when His morning light came down the path,
Among the lonely woods at early day.

Charles Tennyson Turner---The Forest Glade