My land. I’m sure of it. I don’t own it all, but I walk it often because it’s not posted and I know it well. Well, only just so well. It’s constantly offering me new learnings.
And so once again, out the back door I ventured, intending to head north toward the land of snow–haha. My sister asked the other day if we still had snow. We don’t have any on our land, but this is our view from the power line right of way–yup–we’ve got snow 😉 (in our view).
I changed my mind about the direction, however, when I saw numerous dog ticks on the tips of grass as I crossed our neighbor’s field. Though they aren’t the purveyors of diseases such as Lyme disease, Babesiosis, and Anaplasmosis, seeing them still unnerved me and I decided to head in the opposite direction where it isn’t so grassy. Of course, that’s where the deer ticks live. Nightly tick checks are a must every day.
It was in the opposite direction that I was caught by surprise. Behind a local business, where the land had been disturbed a year ago, a wall of yellow greeted me.
It was a sea of early yellow-rocket that is common along roadsides and fields. Apparently this one spot was the cat’s meow for it to grow so prolifically.
What was more prolific–the sound.
Bees and other insects hummed as they worked,
filling their pollen sacks to the brim.
Even a fritillary butterfly enjoyed the goodness within.
Those weren’t the only wings I saw. It was a complete surprise to also discover gaywings or fringed polygala growing deeper in the woods.
Walking along, I flushed a couple of deer and a ruffed grouse. And though I didn’t see or hear any turkeys, I knew they’d been there by their signature prints.
And then I slipped off the trail to stop at a vernal pool that I don’t often visit. The water is shallow, but tadpoles are growing.
A week or two ago after they’d just emerged, they were easy to spot as they clung to their egg masses or swam by water’s edge. But they are maturing and I had to stand still or they’d disappear under the leaf cover.
While standing there, I spotted another resident I didn’t immediately recognize–the larval form of a water scavenger beetle. According to A Field Guide to the animals of Vernal Pools, “they are poor swimmers and will hang from the water surface (where they obtain oxygen) or hide in vegetation to await prey.” That all makes sense given their body structure.
On the way back, another insect stopped me. I think they were sugar ants with a white thorax. But why were they on beech leaves? Then again, every insect seems to like beech leaves. I guess I don’t think of them as being sweet, but . . .
As I headed home, I paused by an old wall and gate. This land was farmed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The walls formed boundaries for animals and are owned by numerous neighbors I’ve never met. Thankfully, they let me and others cross–though few will do so until hunting season begins in the fall.
Anyway, it all got me thinking about who owns the land. And then I knew the actual answer. The plants. The trees. The flowers. The insects. The amphibians. The birds. The mammals. They all own the land. We are mere visitors. I thank all of nature for letting me trespass and gain a better understanding of its various life forms.
This land isn’t my land. And it wasn’t even made for you and me. But I have great reverence for it. And for those who have protected it.
Happy Memorial Day.