Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Keep an Eye on the Ground

I had been cutting grass and clearing vines at my great-grandparents' old house and daughter and I were taking a walk around to plan our next work day. We are often surprised by what we find, but this was a biggie -- our second snake of the season and not a little one. It was curled in a spot of sunshine like a string of sparkling onyx beads. As I stepped closer to get a photo, it stretched its beautiful inches out to a yard and zipped through the undergrowth.

Now, after all the Hours for Watching sunsets and cloud pictures, my attention has been riveted to ground level.

Of course, I'm checking for snakes and critters, but I have been delighted at other finds: more Red Spider Lilies; perfectly ripe bronze scuppernongs under the old arbor; purple bits of wild verbena . . . . The most interesting this week is some shiny round balls tucked in the loamy soil beneath leaves and sticks. . . . Maybe puffballs, but not like any I had seen before.

I've searched for information and I think they are "Earth Stars" (Astraeus hygrometricus.) which pull moisture from the air and sit fat and sassy on star shaped cups to send their spores into the air. If I bring them into the studio, will I have to keep them watered so they won't become hard leathery nuts? Shades of Audrey II!

It seems that I can't get away from celestial observations! But these are good shapes, good colors, good textures to put in the studio. So, until the weather cools and the skinny neighbors have hibernated, I'll be more careful about wearing my boots, I'll not walk through tall grass and and I'll keep an eye on the ground.

iPhone photos
BushStrokes (c) AAB


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