Posts Tagged ‘fire’

The Woodsman, 8/09

For generations, folks around the Falls (or the Wickets as they are known among the locals) have been gathering the driftwood.  Some use it to decorative effect.  I met a man who told me he gets $25.00 per arrangement for attaching plastic flowers artfully onto small, but nice pieces of driftwood.  I have also seen where people prefer their wood plain and display it along with their other yard art.  And then there are those who prefer to burn what they collect during the cold months.  Whatever your preference…there’s no shortage of wood around here.

Woodsman on the rocks, 8/09

The river has been up and the wood has been gathering at the high water points.  Once the river goes back down, there will be these neat lines of wood to remind you how far up the bank the river has traveled.  Insect life is abundant now.  I’ve seen many butterflies and other pollinating insects.  What caught my eye this time were the large wasps better known as Cicada Killers.  They are aptly named.  The female wasps are huge and are among our largest wasps.  Hunting the cicadas exclusively, the female wasp will paralyze it’s prey with a sting and drag it back to the hole it has dug in the earth.  In the burrow she will lay her egg on the still living but immobile cicada.  Soon the egg hatches and the larval wasp will feed upon the cicada and another generation will play out.  Here is a picture of a male Cicada Killer who has confused a dried willow leaf for a female and is attempting to mate with it.  Males are two-thirds the size of the females.

Cicada Killer, male, 8/09

There are all kinds of other giants around here.  Check out the tracks left in the wet sand by various creatures also drawn to the river.  It’s fun trying to identify the various animals that call the Falls home by their spoor.

Woodsman with tracks, 8/09

Now is also a good time to see lizards basking on the logs.  Here’s two pictures of a Five-lined Skink.  They like to burrow under the driftwood and hunt insects in the tangles.  Their young are the small familiar lizards with the blue tails.  This one allowed me to get close before darting away.

Five-lined Skink, 8/09

Five-lined Skink, detail, 8/09

One last image and thought before I turn for home.  I have been looking at old camp fire sites and feeling the ritualized antiquity in them.  It’s time now to take this wood I’ve gathered to my place.  I will build my fire tonight and connect with those who came before me in the hypnotic dance of the flames.Woodsman and camp site, 8/09

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