dodder

Getting Muddy

Getting muddy. I recommend it, once in a while. Saturday’s outing started out as serious business. We stood just a stone’s throw from the Huntingdon Valley fault line, an ancient break in the underlying rock that stretches through Montgomery and Bucks Counties, and crosses the Delaware River somewhere around Trenton. Seven near strangers had gathered in a lot near busy…

moluccella morning sun

The Moluccella Mystery

Bells of Ireland are not from Ireland, but from Turkey or Syria. Some say they were named for the exotic Maluku Islands, home of mega-bats like flying foxes, and nocturnal marsupials like cuscuses and sugar gliders. Easily grown and self-seeding, the green bells might drift into the category of weeds, except for one thing: in my garden at least, they…

jewelweed flower

Jewelweed

I call it a placeholder. I shouldn’t but I do. This is meant to be a complimentary designation of jewelweed, which is actually more jewel than weed. Impatiens capensis is the real name of this native annual that springs from the moist earth when the soil gets sufficiently warm, and takes its sweet time manufacturing seeds. It likes it wet.…

Snowflakes are always hexagonal, but not always branched.

Hexagons in Nature

I don’t know why it surprised me so much that the snowflakes in my digital night photos were hexagonal. But they were, and it did, and the six-sided shape has since taken over a corner of my mind. It is everywhere in nature, in honeycombs and on turtle shells, crystals and snowflakes. The cooling and cracking of lava over centuries…

Water

Water. It is such an essential part of life that we take it for granted. There it sits, a drop of water on the waxy cuticle of a daylily leaf, defying our expectations. For do we not expect water to run, to drop down to earth, to sink into the soil? Instead it holds its shape like a balloon, and…