Thursday, June 14, 2012

Evening Nature Walk in the Neighborhood

Dear friends,

An evening walk in the neighborhood, noticing and appreciating the beauty...  Even though it was 8 PM, it was still pretty light out.  I was triple-tasking -- fast walking for exercise, talking on my cell phone for community, and taking pictures with my iPod for beauty.  It was an hour well spent.

I hear the birdsong, the frogs, the crickets.  
I not only hear, I listen.
I not only see: I look, watch, observe, savor.
We have lived here for 19 years and this tree is just around the corner.
I'm sure I've seen it before, but somehow I don't remember it.
Have I ever truly noticed it - and then just forgot?
I don't know what it is. Not a tabebuia,
the other brilliant yellow flowered Florida tree
that grows here and blooms for a week or two in the spring.
Not with the fanned leaves.

(My second cousin Margaret e-mailed me after I posted this,
and suggested that it might be a mimosa. 
I am inclined to think she is right!)
A little closer...

Same tree, but now you can see
the silhouettes of the leaves against sky.
A little different perspective: from below the canopy of leaves,
you can barely see the flowers.

Pink crepe myrtle blossoms

Look more closely now.
See the red berries?  Or are they berries?
See the bud opening up in the upper right,
with triangular sepals?
See the structure of the branch, twigs, smooth green leaves?

Another street, another crepe myrtle,
this time with white blossoms.
Variations on a theme.

Sand and leaves in the gutter,
unlikely beauty in unexpected places.
It has been raining here.  The water is a sculptor.
The varicolored sands are the paint.
The shape of the sand looks like India
adorned  with a green and brown garland.

Look at the delicate green
and the frilled fringes of lichen
on a fallen tree branch...

and a circular patch, almost flower blossom shaped,
that I almost didn't see,
tucked away as it was on a live tree.
I was already thinking "lichens"
and so it popped out to me -
more variations on a theme.
Did you know that lichens are not just one organism,
but a symbiotic combination of fungus and algae?
The design of the natural world astounds me -
so much complexity bound up in the
seemingly simple beauty.

Shapes, colors, textures, however transient -- whether in a floating cloud, on a discarded branch, a quickly wilting blossom, or fashioned of gutter sediment -- still beautiful.

Take a walk.
Open your eyes and ears.
Join the feast of beauty.

What is in your neighborhood?

For a companion post, my skyscapes during storms and sunsets: Sunlight in Storms

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