...an unpaid sabbatical. Just call it a break. I've fallen well short of my original goals for this blog and am too busy to continue at this time. Thanks for the comments and feedback people have given me by email and other means. I will continue to find solace in nature walks, with or without camera and notebook, but I will take at least a two-month break from posting here.
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.
As I pored over my photo archives and notes of the past month, I realized how many "roads" I have not taken, that is, how many blog posts I've conceived, but not birthed. I decided to rectify the situation, and rather than go back and resurrect some of those posts, I thought I'd first go on a brief new adventure in search of Shelton's Violet (above). That is usually the first wildflower to bloom on the south-facing slopes of the FRC nature trail. No flowers blooming yet, but quite a few young leaves of violets have appeared. These stimulated further wanderings, and whetted the appetite for regular return visits.
Among other signs of activity were the piles of "dear" poop. Not a misspelling but rather a way of honoring the role of the deer in recycling the grass they eat and building soil.
Then I came across a signless-post and decided to invent a new word. This post is at a major fork in the trail at which point one must decide whether to continue along the loop clockwise or counterclockwise. Since I had lots of work to do at home, I decided upon a third option, retreat.
However, I could not return to my truck in a straight line. I wandered over to where I knew there would be running water and photographed the cordiform leaves of Lemmon's Wild Ginger, a nice plant to view on Valentine's Day.
Just above the running water on still-damp soil, were some nice-looking mushroom caps. Knowing that the most interesting action of the fungi takes place beneath the surface, my old habit of tipping things over kicked in. Lo and behold, some grayish slime mold and a really interesting fungus (or possibly another slime mold) shone bright red in the setting sun. All in all, an enjoyable brief excursion and sufficient stimulus to start posting the photos and stories from January and early February - after I grade a few more papers.