Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Natural History of My Day, Part 1

 It's been a week since we returned from our trip to the coast, and I still have much to share from that trip.  However, this morning I was nearly derailed from this plan by a fascinating hour spent in front of our local supermarket.  I had gathered five photos from the coast, intending to write this post when I returned from my usual early morning pursuit of the smell of coffee and conversations with friends and strangers.  My usual Sunday morning haunt was very busy and full of people who would purchase a lot more than a cup of decaf, so I wandered.  I had my notebook and camera with me.  Which would it be?  I parked in the shade of a Maple tree and the beads of water on the grass in front of me said, "Time for the camera."  I spent an hour circling a 100-yard section of a ditch that runs between the supermarket parking lot and the highway.  What wonders I found!  That post will come later today under the title "Scenes from a Ditch."
Meanwhile, the first photo here is of a species of Monkeyflower that is prominent on the coastal highway.  I took many photos of it from the Sonoma Coast near Olema all the way to Mendocino over the next couple of days.  I find the yellow-orange color captivating.
 Seeing Rattlesnake Grass again was like seeing an old friend.  I had forgotten about this intriguing plant since moving to Quincy six years ago.  When I lived on the coast, I used to stare at it for hours.  Click on a photo for a closer view.
 I first discovered Scarlet Pimpernel growing in center field of the Leggett High School baseball field some ten years ago.  I've only seen it once or twice since I've lived in Quincy, where, by this late in the summer it has disappeared.  A few bright ones stood out among the browns along coastal Highway 1.
 The jumble of seaweeds, driftwood, and animal remains that wash up on the beaches is fascinating.  Here, the remains of a Seagull's lunch caught my eye.
 A seaside Daisy or Aster looked quite fresh and was a pleasant sight after the challenge of finding flowers still blooming in hot, dry American Valley.  Now that I'm back home, I am excited about what fall will bring, but, I admit, the month of August, especially this year, is quite a challenge.
I dragged this one out of my archive because my early morning photo session in the ditch by the supermarket gave me the strong feeling of being watched by the vegetation.

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