• A whole month elapsed between the time I took the first photo of beechdrops (9/26) and the last photo (10/28). If you’d asked me how long it was, I would have said maybe two weeks. I only seem to understand time on the small scale–minutes, hours, and days. I sense the steady tick-tock of minutes, the light of the day brightening and dimming, the temperature rising and falling. On this scale time is knowable. On the larger scale–weeks, months, years, decades–I am lost. It was just summer, and now it is fall. The children were just toddlers, and now they are nearly teenagers. I just started my job, and now I’m a 25-year veteran. It’s confusing. Perhaps this is why I like to focus on small things such as wildflowers. Flowers are to Nature as minutes are to Time.
  • While researching beechdrops, I found this blog post from the New York Botanical Garden that talks about pyrola, which turns out to have a parasitic evil twin. It says, “American wintergreen (Pyrola americana) is seen most often in its autotrophic variety, a sun-loving plant with amiable green leaves and shy flowers blooming in pinks or creams; the Cherokee would sometimes place the leaves on cuts to aid healing. But on the other side of the coin is a darker variety of wintergreen, chlorophyll-free and boasting red leaves, if any at all. And as a myco-heterotroph, it can only grow when parasitically attached to another organism…; in this case, ‘myco’ refers to its sweet tooth for feeding on underground fungi, the same mycorrhizal fungus that forms a symbiotic relationship with trees…. Pyrola is one of only a few plant groups to produce species in both autotrophic and parasitic varieties, something that pushes the evolutionary envelope as we currently know it.” Is that cool or what?
  • When I looked up more information about the purple mushrooms that I spotted in the woods recently, my search string brought up articles mentioning that the spotted lanternfly had been found in Rhode Island. It was only one individual insect, but where there is one there are likely more. I refuse to think too much about it, though. I’m already sad enough seeing the damage that the winter and gypsy moths have done and anticipating the damage that the emerald ash borer will do. The spotted lanternfly is just too much for me.
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