All Twigged Out

In preparation for a senior college class I’ll be teaching this week entitled “All Things Spring,” I headed out the door in search of twigs.

t-Mount Wash

Of course, it doesn’t look like spring quite yet. But then again, it does. And on this crystal clear day, the silhouette of the buildings atop Mount Washington were visible.

t-vernal pool

Before I could settle down to the work at hand, I visited the vernal pool, where all was quiet. But, I know the time is nearing. I could smell spring in the air and feel it in the warm sunshine that enveloped me and my surroundings.

t-chick 4

And then I slipped into the gray birch grove to begin my hunt,

t-chick 3

while a black-capped chickadee wondered what I was up to–no good, as usual.

t1-table top (1)

At last, I filled my satchel, but only enough–never wanting to take more than necessary. In fact, since I don’t know how many students will be present, they may have to share.

My plan is to begin with a slide show of flowers and ferns, mammals and birds, and of course, life evolving at the vernal pool (all photos were taken a year ago). I’ll bring some fun things to share, including scat–I sure hope they (whoever they are) think it’s fun.

And then we’ll look at twigs through a hand lens so together we can examine the idiosyncrasies of our common deciduous trees,

t1-sugar maple (1)

such as these sugar maples and . . .

t1-striped maple twigs (1)

a few striped maples.

t-beech

We’ll look at beech,

t-quaking aspen

quaking aspens and several others.

t-opposite

My materials are almost ready, though I still need to pull something together about fern crosiers. Oh my!

t-alternate

I’m nervous, but excited. My hope is to instill a sense of wonder, but maybe no one will show. That would be okay–I’d just quietly slip back into the woods.

Until then, I’m trying not to feel all twigged out.