In the Neighbourhood

afterrainIt is the first official week of summer, although steamy weather set in last month.  Today there is a break in the humidity, so Ric and I decide to explore local nature.

We’ve come to the Strathroy Conservation Area, along the Sydenham River.  Recent rains have flooded much of the grounds, so we stick to the paved trails with careful footing.  It is soon apparent that insects have been drawn out by the sun also, and I start swatting, but am determined to keep going.

howmanyturtles_.jpgFrom the main parking lot, the path heads in opposite directions – one towards the water, and a wooded trail on the other side.  I decide to venture into the wooded area for a bit to see if I can rejoin the water further along.  Even though it is early in the season the shrubbery is dense, with sporadic breaks to reveal the soupy green river on the other side.

At one such break, I notice a turtle sunning itself on the bank across from me.  In reviewing the picture, later, I discover he was not alone.

The sound of splashing ahead encourages my steps, and I come across some carp who have somehow managed to swim into the shallow flooded area and are now trying to maneuver their way back.  They flounder a bit, brown fins and tails breaking the water’s surface, before finding their way to deeper water.

MonarchStarlings, grackles, and red-winged blackbirds flit about overhead, their noisy calls announcing my presence.  Orange and black orioles dart between trees, too quickly for my reflexes, and robins line the walkway as they forage the ground for what must be a feast of worms.

The white wings of butterflies whirl by and I raise my camera hoping they will alight for a moment and find this beautiful Monarch enjoying a tasty treat.

noonskyI have worn long pants and sleeves to deter the bugs, but a deer fly manages to get a bite of my hand, which chases me back towards the car.  I find Ric waiting on a park bench and join him.  The sky above us reveals cotton ball clouds and interesting waves of white.

 

whitedragonflyHe heads back to the truck, but I want to walk to the water’s edge beyond the parking lot.  Flooding here is much more prevalent, and the ducks I had noted when we arrived, have moved on.  A small wooden bridges lets me step out over the water and I watch as weeds, broken loose, float with the current.  A wide-bodied white dragonfly like insect buzzes past, its black wings creating an interesting contrast.  Can’t say I’ve seen one of these before.

So much to discover even in one’s own backyard.

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

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