Happy Birthday (Chanterelle, Again)

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Another day of heavy rain and warm weather did it, the chanterelles have come out, just in time for my daughter’s birthday, who, alas, just left again.

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My first serious harvest this year was enough for two toasts (with Phantasia, a wonderful local goat cheese, and aragula sprouts),

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as well as a small salad with roasted vegetables.

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Let’s see what else July will bring.

Winter in Summer

After all the spring wildflowers are gone, there is not much left blooming here. So these little flowers came as a surprise when I found them on my Pate Hollow Trail.

What we have here is Chimaphila maculata, or the Striped Wintergreen (an odd name for a summer wildflower).

Endangered, it says for Indiana.

This has been my first time with this rare misfit, and I hope it is here to stay.

Paradise Lost

Snowfall overnight in late April is rare here, but has its own strange appeal.

Unfortunately I had other obligations this morning, so I couldn’t go on a longer expedition, so I paid our campus a visit.

While the trees have mostly managed the extra burden, most flowers did not.

It’s not all sadness. Hours later, the snow was all gone, and the recovery has begun.

In the afternoon I went on a short hike at Pate Hollow. Many wildflowers were gone here, and tree blossoms have fallen. Grayness has returned.

But there still is life,

and thus hope.

Night Walks

The end of winter marks the time when I started to walk the Pate Hollow trail on an almost daily basis, to stay physically fit and mentally sane.

I know this trail like a close friend, in every mood and season. I mostly walked in the early morning hours, but lately I enjoyed the late evenings, after sunset, using a flashlight for the last half an hour.

The light at dawn has a different quality than at dusk, it has a certain tiredness to it that I can’t explain, but which feels good, like being tired after having persisted, through a day, or through a year.

There is also a certain urgency to this hour, to complete the circle before the time is up.

Darkness enables intimacy — maybe because it forces us to focus harder, maybe because the visible is so close by.

A year has passed. I will treasure every minute spent with a good friend.

The Cemetery of Trees

Southern Indiana can have some violent weather, and the forests are often littered with branches and fallen trees.

Most people think that they just lie there and rot away, providing nutrients for the Mycelium.

But healthy forests have special places, hidden away from the trails, where the fallen trees are being cared for.

There are various forms of burial rites, including a careful shrouding with dried grasses.

If you stumble across a place like this, spend a few minutes and say your prayer.

Snow (Frost III)

After 4-5 inches of snow over night, I couldn’t resist to get up early to be the first on Pate Hollow. Well, I wasn’t quite the first, as numerous animal tracks testify, but otherwise the trail was so completely virginal that it was almost invisible.

Snow increases gravity, which is why I have changed the usual aspect ratio from 3:2 to 2:1.

There is resistance against the gravity, and efforts of verticality have become more pronounced against the uniformly white backdrop.

The Black and White contrast makes it possible to spot the Baxter branch in a trail-less valley down below which we will pay a visit soon.

Then there is my favorite detour to the desolate peninsula.

The lake only appears to be frozen. Snow can be treacherous, too.

I return to the trail: but where is it?

As time expands (it took me three instead of the usual two hours to hike this trail today), the attempts to defy gravity become more and more futile.

But there is no giving up. Just look at these pine needles!


I thought I’ve done all of it: Forgot the camera, leave the battery uncharged, overwrote the memory card. And not just once. So I have become pretty good at double checking my equipment.

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I did check everything before I went today to take some shots of my beloved Pate Hollow trail in snow.

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What I forgot was that I had set the camera to take double exposures when I took photos for Wenckheim X. Back then, I had try to compose the double exposures carefully.

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Not so here. They are completely unintended. Of course most of the pictures are just trash.

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Some, however, came out nicely, when the subconscious effort to capture the atmosphere of the place superposes its actual appearance.

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I see this as a unique opportunity. There is no way to make the same mistake unintentionally a second time.

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