After a slow first five months, I'm back to blogging in earnest. In the forthcoming few months I plan to keep on tracking the blooming of wildflowers, the activities of bugs and reptiles and any other critters I'm quick enough or lucky enough to photograph, and to comment on ecological relationships. Since there is an increasing sense of ecological crisis among many people and more vigorous denial of such on the part of others, I will inevitably comment on the social and political dimensions of survival as I see them.
I am still an adjunct instructor in the English Department at Feather River College, but time permitting, I am available for hire as a nature guide in the region in and around Plumas County. A brochure describing my usual kinds of natural history adventures is in development. Email me c/o firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address and a statement of interests, and I'll send you a rough draft.
I have been teaching since 1965 and have recently joined the English Department as an Associate Faculty member at Feather River College. Recently taught Nature Literature in America and am currently teaching Interpersonal Communication and Basic Reading and Writing.
Our trail took us through a dark, dense stand of young pines where hardly any blooming flowers were seen. Any change in the grey-brown background color was likely to get out attention. So, I got excited when I saw a small patch of bright yellow barely breaking ground. I could tell right away it was some sort of spring mushroom. I decided to give it a little help by removing some of the pine duff. Then my wife remarked, "Oh, look, it's three." I agreed, but then had to add, "but, to a mycologist or a Buddhist monk, it's all One."
A little further along the trail I spotted a White-veined Wintergreen. No flowers yet, but the decorative leaves really stand out. As easy as this is to identify, I have to give myself a refresher course every spring because two other plants that grow in this same habitat keep getting confused in my memory bank. One is the Prince's Pine which, like the wintergreen, is in the same family at Manzanita, Ericaceae, variously known as the heath family or the wintergreen family. The other plant that somewhat resembles this one, especially before the flowers bloom, is the Rattlesnake Plantain, which is actually an orchid, not a plantain.
On this same walk we spotted a few more colorful wildflowers in the sunny spots. I'll save those for another post. They include the first blooming Red Larkspur I've seen on this trail and the first buds of Scarlet Fritillary.