With recent encouragement I changed my focus and gazed skyward.
Rewarded immediately, the porous and slightly concave underside of Otzi, the Ice Man’s Tinderconk fungi, revealed a pattern repeated over and over again.
In another place where the forest is intended as a demonstration project, the dancers of the woods let their boughs reach down as if they were ladies dressed in gowns rather than Norway Spruce standing in a foreign community.
The upward gaze, however, was soon drawn down to the cone with scales numerous, thin and irregularly toothed, attracted my eye and that of a squirrel who left a large midden at the tree’s base.
And then that gaze focused outward where Common Mergansers whispered amongst themselves in a language only they understood.
In their midst, a Common Goldeneye swam and once again I wondered about that descriptive term “common.” Exactly what is common about that golden eye and all the other features of this duck?
Moments later I gazed skyward again from under a princess pine clubmoss that ends each leaflike structure with a Y as in “Why”? Certainly. Perhaps because.
Distracted once again–I spotted a spring stonefly with its rolled wings providing a stain-glassed venation.
The next upward gaze turned a tree stump into a nurse nourishing an entire deciduous forest as if it could.
Downward, I focused on a black-capped chickadee puffed up on a cold spring morning . . .
and a Mourning Cloak butterfly who had overwintered as an adult under the bark of a nearby tree.
So as a friend reminds me, I’ve entered a new season, one where I squat over vernal pools and beside streams and search for life within for hours on end.
For now, the ice is only just melting and life within the pool taking time to emerge, such as this predacious diving beetle larva.
At last I stand up straight and turn for a reason I don’t recall. But . . . there it is. A bird I’d seen swoop over the pool and stand at its edge as I approached. Of course, then it took off, not giving me an opportunity to identify it . . .
Until the barred owl did just that. Flew back in and posed above. And I realized that as I looked up at it, it looked around . . .
and then down at me. My gaze might be upward, but the owl also searched outward and downward.
As it should. This well-focused visionary knows that one must look in every direction for there’s always something to wonder about. Especially as we celebrate Easter 2021.
And my guy and I give thanks for receiving our second Pfizer shot this weekend. In the midst of joining the owl’s vision, we’re all looking upward.