Monday, August 13, 2012

Scenes from a Ditch, Part 1

 I took these photos, among many others, Sunday morning, and by mid-afternoon I had a story to go with them all worked out.  Sidetracked by multiple errands and smoke from the Chips fire, my memory and my attitude about that photo experience have evolved.  Instead of telling the story chronologically, as originally intended, I re-ordering the photos to match what excites me now.
The Skipper, which is obviously related to Butterflies and Moths, was a dramatic presence toward the end of my walk around the ditch.  Perhaps my strongest memory of the walk.  Skippers tend to be fuzzy and moth-like in overall appearance, but their antennae resembles those of butterflies but with little hooks at the ends.  Also, they tend to be active in the daytime like most butterflies.  The average person encountering one of these would tend to think it a moth. 
 Shot from directly above, the symmetry of the Skipper is impressive.  Sort of begs to be an image on a greeting card, or maybe a coffee mug.  The leaf it's sitting on is a willow.  I'm not sure if it lays its eggs on willow, but I'll probably try to find out.
 This was originally planned as the first photo in the story, but it's rather drab and I thought you would lose interest in the story before it even got started.  But, as soon as I got curious about the ditch, the sprinklers were turned off and I was on my way.  The grass glistened with dew.  I love photographing dew.

 Dew on Red Closer.  I could stare at that biggest drop for a long while.  In fact, I did.
 Most wildflowers and deciduous trees are brown skeletons now and taken for granted, but every now and then due to sun angle and background one stands out from the rest.  These stalks of wild grass did just that with a shady stretch of the ditch providing a dark background.  And these seeds could end up getting planted anywhere from Quincy to San Francisco.  That's where this ditch is headed.
 Obviously, some people don't respect ditches.  Thus, as a verb, the word means "to throw away."
 Lots of Cat-o-Nine-Tails in this ditch.  A most interesting and edible plant, although I don't think I'd harvest them here. 
 Brewer's Blackbirds gathered under a maple tree, enjoying the freshly moistened food bits.  They get rather tame when continually presented with discarded human food.
 A great supply of Mint in this ditch.  Beautiful flowers and fragrant leaves. 
A rather prolific birch tree.  Part 2 of Scenes from a Ditch will appear shortly.  What is particularly memorable at this point is how I never intended to photograph the ditch and it's residents.  I was seduced, one step at a time, taking unimpressive snapshots, then discovered more and more beauty as I got closer to certain flowers and bugs, and thought how thousands of people pass by this spot every day, some tossing empty soft drink bottles and food cartons, not realizing its role in our watershed nor its potential for inspiring photography, art, poetry, and just plain appreciation.  If I were teaching biology at Quincy High, I think I'd have my class adopt this ditch.  The whole year's studies could emanate from what is easily found here.

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