Saturday, March 31, 2012

March Went Out Like a Lion

Today in Quincy March is going "out like a lion."  Today's snow storm is reminding me of many things.  First, that song from Carousel, "June is Busting Out All Over," was my 8th-grade graduation song  It was exciting to graduate from 8th grade because a.) we were about to enter high school and b.) a brand new high school was under construction and would be ready when we entered 9th grade, and c.) in concert with getting a brand new school, we also got new school colors and mascot.  I remember that whole process being a source of great consternation among different factions in the community.  Social Darwinism might have been operating, but I don't remember.  Every now and then I imagine writing a natural history of my home town, but I'd probably be prone to error and exaggeration.  I think I'll pass. Another thing this storm reminds me of is what a lucky day we had yesterday.  A couple of naturalist friends drove u p from the valley and we went on a natural history hike during a great break in the weather, a partly sunny day before the storm.  I didn't bring my camera, so I got a couple of blurry photos with an iPod Touch.  I hate to post bad photos, but these are essential to y story.
On our short hike near Oakland Camp, we saw the first flowers to bloom in that area, a few Filaree and a few large patches of Milkmaids.  Milkmaids are of the same genus as Toothwort, Cardamine, so one has to remember the types of leaves for quick field identification.  The top photo here is of Toothwort, Cardamine pachystigma, taken last spring near Keddie Cascades.  The second photo is of Milkmaids, Cardamine californica, taken yesterday by Oakland Camp.  A bit blurry, similar flowers, but a significantly different type of leaves.  The most delightful surprise on yesterday's hike was the young California Toad, Bufo boreas.  I found it under a piece of shale in our path.  We took a few blurry pictures then placed him back under his protective rock.  I can imagine him out there now peering out at snow about 10 times as deep as his height.  I hope he makes it through the spring.

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