This is my first real autumn in six whole years! After living in the shadows of mountains and being surrounded by striking sagebrush oceans, I’m back on the East Coast and remembering the autumns of my childhood. They come much more slowly here, giving you the chance to breathe in the colors and textures of changing leaves and landscapes. Have you noticed how different the angle of the light is during autumn and spring? After the blazing and endless sun of summer, it’s so spectacular to me how the light comes in more steeply, sifting through branches and brightening things with a cool fire.
roam: verb - To move about without purpose or plan; to wander.
On a blazing hot Sunday several weeks ago, I visited one of the most amazing spots in Central Oregon, a state park called Smith Rock State Park. It’s a haven for rock climbers, as tall cliff faces shoot into the air at steep angles and varying sizes. For hikers like me, it’s a spot of sagebrush steppe with meandering trails and an array of plants and critters that can keep one occupied all day. It was a beautiful day in the rocks and always an education: as I sat on a sun-baked rock enjoying my lunch, I glanced down to see that I had chosen a spot which ants had chosen long before me. I’d disturbed their home, and they were haphazardly scurrying across both of my feet and up my legs. I leapt into the air, squawking and dancing and stomping like a madwoman. It’s a shame I don’t have it on video. After apologizing profusely for killing several of their tribesmen in my surprise and panic, I offered them a hunk of my lunch. They examined it and, after deeming it unworthy, returned to their subterranean home. Apparently ants don’t care for fried fish.
I’m not at all much of a techie, but I finally joined the nerd movement and downloaded the Hipstamatic camera app on my little-used iPod. The schtick of this app is that it basically takes photos like an old Holga, messing with depth of field, color saturation, and format, and making all your photos look like they either 1) were taken in the 1960s or 2) went through your washing machine.
I’m a photographer-wannabe so I’ve been playing with the new app this morning. It’s kinda fun, don’t you think? It reminds me of flipping through my mother’s photo albums of when she was my age, traveling through Yosemite National Park with her true love.
They’re not exactly National Geographic quality, but at least you can see the babies getting a little bigger (and the eyebrow! I love the eyebrow!). Happy happy Wednesday!
This is the Rosy Boa’s first meal since I brought her home, and she didn’t think twice about nabbing it. (It was dead, I can’t do the live mouse thing.) The Rubber Boa wolfed down four pinkies the same evening (she’s tapping on the glass right now and I think I hear the muffled yelling of something like “Hey human, let’s go, I’m still hungry! You feed the dog twice a day, I SEE YOU DO IT”).
Since snakes are sans thumbs, they’ve evolved some pretty cool ways of eating handless. For one, their jaws disengage from one another to allow their mouths to open wider. Their skin is elastic, allowing for a large blob to enter the body without tearing the dermis (usually; I’ve seen some images of reticulated pythons splitting some skin after eating, oh, like, AN ANTELOPE). Also, they have tiny sharp teeth on either side of those jaws and they “walk” them along the mouse, pulling it in side by side.