Friday, March 9, 2012

dirt + time = humankind

I love this definition of evolution. I saw it on a t-shirt in Kauai, and only later did I realize (once I looked at the fine print, essentially) that it was intended as a jibe against Darwin’s theory of evolution.
But it works for me.
I went for a walk with a friend this afternoon up a nearby 1300 foot high hill. I know Paul from grad school, and one of his chief redeeming qualities, apart from being an all-around decent guy, is that he’s as much of a wildflower geek as I am, if not more so. He gave me the lowdown on what’s going to pop up and where as spring unfolds. First up? The leaves of hepatica (Hepatica americana).
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…as well as the leaves of trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens). These sort of don’t count, as the leaves stick around all winter.
Mind you, we’re a week or three ahead here – we’re at least a whopping 20 miles away from the homefront, farther south and on a west-facing slope that sucks all available light out of the atmosphere and for the most part, turns it into moss at this time of year:
I was here before, a few weeks ago, when the trail was coated in ice. Today, the foot and a half of snow we got last week was in full melt-down mode, but up high, there was still plenty of ice underfoot:
Overlapping layers of latticework: an everyday miracle of crystal formation.
I am told that this spot – a frozen vernal pool – will be rocking the azalea look in early June. I wonder if any salamanders conduct their romantic bidness here. Stay tuned, I guess.
What does a black birch have in common with a housecat? Both know how to get comfortable in improbable places.
Fern spores: “Here, children…try this candy…”
Don’t quote me, but I’m fairly sure these are glacial striations.
Thanks to the miracle of a pocket knife, we can all rest easy knowing what one J. S. Austin was doing on August 11, 1878. He was defacing a rock.
Vandalism + Time = Priceless Petroglyphs.

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