Look up

The other day, we headed out between showers, walking over to Sakinaw Lake to see if the coho were in Haskins Creek. They weren’t; it’s still a bit early. But we wandered over anyway, into the low marshy area between the road and the creek, and looked up at this bigleaf maple with its little forest of ferns.

These ferns are Polypodium glycyrrhiza, or licorice ferns, and occur in epiphytic colonies on the trunks of trees. Here’s a (blurry) close-up of the ferns:

There’s a branch of biology devoted to arboreal canopies, focussing on the organisms which thrive in these elevated ecosytems. Gastropods, insects, amphibians, epiphytes, and even small trees! Think of it happening over our heads while we walk, talking of this and that, while whole worlds establish themselves in moss.

There was elk scat in the marshy area, the sound of mergansers out on the lake, and the silvery gabble of water in Haskins Creek, running clear over sand and stones, waiting for the salmon, as we are.  I thought of Gary Snyder, “Nature not a book, but a performance, a/high old culture…”

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