Sunday, August 11, 2013

Is There Anything Good About This Damp End of Summer??

I am completely done with this summer.  On top of relentless humidity and now heat again, a swarming of mosquitoes and other small biting insects, slugs taking over the gardens, and mildew everywhere, I now have poison ivy.  So Phil and I dragged ourselves out to the trail we've been avoiding for the past few weeks and resolutely began walking.  "What is this end- of- summer good for?" we asked each other.  No flowers are left, the trails are more like sluggish streams than places you can walk, puddles are festering with newly-hatched biting things, and the poison ivy is as big and flourishing as kudzu.

Although the berries are long gone and there are no more flowers, the mushrooms, none edible, are doing really well.  And that reminded me of Indian pipes.  A number of years ago I saw some of these wonderfully ghostly plants in a rhododendron slick along one of the trails near the one we were on today.  I started looking for them today ing in the dark, damp places under rhododendrons.  A couple of times I saw what might have been some, but they were too far up a slippery bank overgrown with trees and vines and bushes to be sure.  But what else could be so white and pale in the woods?

When we got home, just ahead of yet another downpour,  I googled them and found out lots about them.  So today's drawings are all from photographs and a bit from memory of the time I actually saw them.

Tomorrow I want to go back to the trail where I found them that other time.  I remember they were in the dropping phase and growing in a cluster, just as the research said they do.  If this butt end of summer is good for nothing else, it might just be perfect for finding Indian pipes again.

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