Tuesday, September 2, 2008

up a creek

is it as beautiful where you are as it is here?! is there anything more gorgeous than the angle of the sun at this time of year?! i went wandering again yesterday. this time i took more pics... probably too many! but if you'd like to come along, please do.

i'll skip over the first mile because i was walking through a stand of trees that had been marked for thinning. i spent half of my time wondering why they'd marked the trees they marked, and the other half telling myself not to try and figure out why they marked the trees they marked.

finally, no more marked trees. i'm at a dry creek bed, and i decide to walk upstream and look for two magnificent old pines that i discovered last fall. off i go. no wait,

i go back and make a rock pile so i know where to turn on my way back.

i quickly realize that i'm in creek pebble paradise. i walk very slowly, looking for 'energetic' pebbles as i go. i'm walking on what will be a rushing torrent in the spring...

i finally find them after going too far, turning around and walking uphill from the creek, carefully looking. these two pines sit by themselves -- remnants of a time when big trees grew everywhere. i put my bag in front of one to try and create some perspective, but still they look so much smaller than in person.

i wander off looking for this lichen covered juniper that i also remember from last year. ahhh, the smell of lichen on juniper... this smell, combined with the early autumn light is delicious beyond words in my world.

i walk back to the pines to sit and savor the afternoon, but what's this at the base of the tree on the left?! oh. my. goodness. little, tiny bones... an owl's eaten his meal overhead and left these treasures...

i carefully uncover them and dismantle the owl pellet. the bones of more than one creature are here-- there are some tiny femur-like bones that are barely a quarter of an inch long -- perfect and whole. wow.

i leave some corn. every year around halloween, grocery stores put out 'indian corn' -- i always stock up.

before i spead out the sarong at the base of the tree on the right, i can't resist a pic of these pieces of bark... like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

eventually i get out my crayons and paint what i call a 'tree flag'. this is my woodland guerrilla art, a sort of 'antiflagging flagging'. there's a lot of plastic flagging in the woods, and evidently people can't see it well because there are often two or three strips of the same color hanging from one tree! i want to take it down, but i don't... i put up my own version, which i hope the birds and animals will rip up for nest making (it's muslin). in the meantime it's a sort of love letter to the trees from me .

this flag is hanging not far from the lichen tree above. i put it there last fall -- a little faded, but not bad. those caran d'ache crayons are something...

i pack up and hang the day's flag...

here i am, not far from home now, and what's this? obviously a bird met his or her end here, but where are the bigger feathers? they're on the other side of the tree. lots and lots of flicker feathers.

here are most of the day's finds... i'm wondering how i can use these jewels in what i make...


  1. Hello!
    I found you via links and links and "artveinvesel" and just look at this connection which just thrills me to bits! (I live in a house surrounded by pine trees in Germany):


    All the best!

  2. wow. lucky you what an inspiring walk. i can't wait to see what you do with all the finds. the sky looks so blue in the pics and i love your art present to the forest.

  3. Thanks for the beautiful walk ! Your flags are such a vast improvement over the plastic. Cool to see what it looks like after a year !

  4. What a magical walk Lynne! Thanks for taking us along again. I was thrilled that you found such lovely bones. I am still convinced that you are actually a wood nymph...leaving love letters to trees, gathering, watching over. There is something mythical and magical about the way you interact with the woods. Perhaps you are a dryad. And they are not easy to find. Just listen to Sylvia Plath: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bL_yMbOTd8o

  5. I love the delight you find in your surroundings - thanks for another wonderful hike - my fav pic is the rock pile to find your way back

  6. Please send some sun our way!
    What a great day of walking...thanks for letting us tag along vicariously.

    psst...I tagged you over on my blog!

  7. i can still see the words from the older post, "they sing as they go" and I carry them with me as i go along with you. Love the puzzle pieces--never saw it in my life; poetic.

    This is what life should be like, before the city came to call, before concrete and cars (ooh and laptops) but I will take the journey here as a blessing.

  8. That was a great walk and what a lucky find. Amazing how perfect the bones are when you dismantle an owl pellet. I love the pile of rocks and the jigsaw bark.

  9. hello jo! so very glad to meet you! pine tree puzzle pieces here and in germany -- catching our attention, calling to us... this thrills me to bits!

    hi kate, yeah, the sky *is* blue! between the low humidity here and the angle of the sun at this time of year, it's stunning to say the least.

    hi kim, thank you for stopping by and coming along!

    yes, kate, i believe i may have been a dryad in at least one previous lifetime. ; ) i'll go listen to sylvia...

    good morning jeane, yeah, the rock pile... more and more are showing up on the dirt roads around here -- there's a fellow rock piler out there.

    hi machinarex, okay, i'll focus on sending some sun to tennessee! so i have to list 'unspectacular' things about myself, huh? now i'm trying to decide what qualifies as unspectacular. i'll have to go look up the definition. : )

    ah, mansuetude... now you're showing me the webbings of your mind...

    as for the puzzle pieces -- if you go to the link in jo's comment above, you'll see them again. yes, THAT made me smile.

    robyn, it's amazing to me that so many of the bones aren't broken in an owl pellet. evidently they munch the creature up just enough to get it down, and the rest happens in the digestive process.

  10. The 3rd and last photos are my favorites. Great stuff!

  11. Oh Lynne, another beautiful post. I love the pebbles and leaves in your hand and your tree flag, and so much more. I found a flicker feather this weekend too! I was so surprised the spine was pink. You are a naturalist as well as artist! Roxanne

  12. I am in Ohio, but I have been noticing the past few days the long shadows and the different light. I love these early Fall days when it is still warm, but one can feel what is around the corner. Loved "our" walk.

  13. Wow...I almost feel like I went on that walk with you. I feel both energized and calmed by this post. Great finds too!

  14. Woodland guerilla art...how divine. I love guerrilla art too, I once had an installation in the bush that people added to for over two years. Should make that a post, I guess.

    And I love the bones. Will swap kangaroo bones for some!

  15. thanks, arnold! i wouldn't say that any of these are my favorites -- my camera is so challenged by bright, sunny days, but i do like that third and last one too!

    hey roxanne! yes, aren't those flicker feathers beautiful? i once found a whole entire wing! hey! i'm starting a new journal for 'open doors', inspired by you!!

    ginny, thank you so much for coming! and as you can tell, i love these early fall days too...

    hi seth, thank you too for coming along! always love your company!

    dneese, i e-mailed you! am i interested in trading bones? well YEAH!! yes, i think you should do a post about your installation in the bush -- i'd be very interested in that.

  16. Lynne, your home environment is absolutely beautiful...
    I love the giving and taking of gifts going on here...your flag gifts in exchange for pebbles, bones and feathers...fair trade!:)
    I'm with Kate about there being something "magical" going on here.
    Looking forward to seeing what you do with all your treasures.

  17. Hi Lynne,

    Sometimes I pass by the words on posts and just look at the pictures. Not here. It was great walking with you. I LOVE the flags.

    Love your book. Wouldn't mind holding it in my hands and taking a closer look.

    ....and finding the book for $3.98!!!!

  18. wowie zowie! What a day, what a haul! I've always wanted to ply through an owl pellet. The flags are a delight and what is it about cairns - all the trails we hiked in Moab were marked with them - ancient magic for sure. And the quality of light in California is unlike any other. Beautifully documented in your own wondrous way.
    ginormous squozes to you my friend.

  19. Oh Lynne! What a wonderful walk. I did enjoy it, 'specially those big old trees.If they could talk . . .
    What will you do with your treasures? Can't wait to see.

  20. what a n amazing blog,like your images and the graphics.
    that was indeed an interesting walk.

  21. hi jo, yes, well the magical thing... i keep telling annette emms about the magic i see in her pics -- i love this sharing of magic from all over the world...

    karen, i always wonder about those words! if there are too many words on a blog i often skip over them too-- or skim them anyway. so i'm always weighing the image vs. word thing! (virgos are so good at this analyzing : )

    kvk -- i'll take a ginormous squoze from you any day! xxxooo

    annette, i would love to know how old these trees are, but even if i had a tree borer i wouldn't subject them to it... don't think they come close to your yews...

    hello megha -- omg, what an amazing blog YOU have!! i've been gawking! thank you so much for stopping by!

  22. lovely lovely post, lynne. you've pulled my heart along with your walk of admiration and adoration in the woods. it reminds me of being a little girl in kentucky. the creek was our playground and all the sticks and rocks were our toys. i miss it very much. so thank you for taking me along with you.


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