Hiking for nuts
Thursday, September 29, 2011
cortneyandjon in nature, photography

The autumnal equinox has come and gone. The garden is done growing (I wish the grass would do the same), the fall colors are starting to come out, and most of the week has been dark and rainy. That's fall, and I love it. This is one of the best times to go hiking. Spring is good, too—when nature is twitterpated and busy, and signs of life can be heard and seen throughout the forest—but fall, with its rich colors and warming scents, is also inviting.  The insects are busier in the fall, and there is more nature to collect, like nuts and seeds and fallen leaves.

Having just ditched the sniffles of a cold, and seeing the sky brighten between showers, we took the risk of getting wet and set out for the field near our house, collecting "basket" in hand. Calvin calls the open nature area there the deer field because we find so much of them there—tracks, scat, and bedded areas. It's really just an undeveloped part of our subdivision, and with the housing market being what it is right now I'm hoping it stays that way. Having the completely uncultivated area just a neighborhood block away—open field for hiking, forest for looking, boggy areas for listening—has really been a treat. 

This trip wasn't as rewarding as most. With all the rain and with the grass still being high we found only two deer tracks today. But we counted a multitude of hues in the flora, and discovered other signs of fauna in the several obliterated nut shells we found along the path. Someone found a bounty. The catbird was a noisy companion on this trip. Calvin remembers seeing her on our paved footpath this past spring, but we can't recall ever noticing her before this year. I wonder if she is new to our area, or if we are just paying closer attention than in the past. There are many things that have previously escaped our notice and have only recently become known to us. That is the beauty of discovery.

In the end we had to cut our hike short upon the arrival of the showers that had been threatening all day. We fled the deep meadow, jumping over the puddles we had gingerly stepped around on our way in, forgetting to notice the deepening of the colors on our way out, and jogging the final block to the cozy, dry refuge of our own home. Then on to the next experience, good old kitchen science and some demonstrations of matter.

Then Demonstrations of matter

Article originally appeared on Cortney and Jon Ophoff's Family Site (http://www.theophoffs.com/).
See website for complete article licensing information.