around the meadow, into the woods

9.28.23 ~ Hollow Rock Nature Park
Durham, North Carolina

The turtle reminds me that I owe my small human life to the generosity of the more-than-human beings with whom we share this precious homeland. The Earth was made not by one alone but from the alchemy of two essential elements: gratitude for her gifts and the covenant of reciprocity. Together they formed what we know today as Turtle Island, or North America. In return for their gifts, it’s time that we gave ours in return.
~ Robin Wall Kimmerer
(The New York Times, September 24, 2023, “What Do We Owe Turtles?”)

We found a great place to walk with uneven terrain and only two people encountered along the way! We followed a trail around a large meadow full of wildflowers and humming with insects…

pearl crescent butterfly

And then we made our way into the woods and felt grateful for all the gifts it was offering on such a lovely day.

a huge beech tree

Tim spotted this box turtle ever so slowly swallowing its breakfast. I cannot tell if he was satisfied or not when he finally got that thing down. When we came back by to check on the turtle ten minutes later he was looking more alert and I was able to get the picture at the beginning of this post.

eastern box turtle
fruit of the American hophornbeam (aka ironwood)

What would a woodland be without squirrels scampering up and down the tree trunks?

eastern gray squirrel
eastern destroying angel amanita ~ poisonous
shaggy stalked bolete

The woods here have many similarities to the ones in New England, but they do have a different feel to them. The heavy presence of loblolly pines, not found up north, is one strikingly obvious difference. Likely I will start seeing more subtle distinctions as time goes on.

36 thoughts on “around the meadow, into the woods”

        1. Oh, wow! That must have been an amazing lecture! If she ever gives one near me I will have to attend. From the way she describes interactions with her students I do love her teaching methods.

    1. You’re welcome, Leelah. I don’t think the turtle was expecting to have company at breakfast. β™₯

  1. A very lovely walk Barbara – my kind of walk and how lucky you were to get up close to that Box Turtle. I don’t know my turtles, so thanks for clarifying that for us. We only have the Painted Turtles and Snapping Turtles around here. You know your mushrooms too. I don’t really see many mushrooms around here. The Pearl Crescent Butterfly was a first for me on a recent walk and I was going to use its picture on a Wordless Wednesday. It was on the ground by a weed – not the most-glamour setting, but good thing it was the “star” of the photograph.

    1. It was so magical finding that box turtle. He was right in the middle of the trail! We always encountered eastern painted turtles in Connecticut so I knew this one looked different and couldn’t wait to get home to identify it. Actually, I don’t know my mushrooms — I’ve been using Google Image ever since you told me about it. πŸ˜‰ The pearl crescent butterfly was probably a first for me, too. There’s a wonderful world out there, full of things waiting for us to discover.

      1. I’ve never seen a box turtle and I’ve never seen any turtle eating. OK, I was giving you kudos for mushroom expertise. πŸ™‚ I love Google Images and I may use my pearl crescent butterfly for this week’s Wordless Wednesday since we have Summer-like temps thru Wednesday. I identified it thru Google Images as I’ve never seen one before. I have a butterfly and moth book from when I had my butterfly garden, but again, it’s easier to Google images. I heard an interview with a tech from Google last Friday and he was talking about Google’s 25th anniversary. You can also speak what you’re searching for after clicking the microphone icon instead of typing your question … didn’t know that, but then, I don’t use my microphone either.

        1. What a nice bit of synchronicity that we encountered pearl crescent butterflies for the first time at about the same time! πŸ™‚ We’re having summer-like temperatures until Friday, and then the day time highs are supposed to drop from the 80s to the 60s. Then it will really feel like fall! (I told Tim he might have to wear long pants in the mountains next week.)

          1. Yes, isn’t it incredible for these butterfly sightings and they had similar poses?! Mine was on the ground. I have scheduled it for this week’s Wordless Wednesday. I just changed my post title to include “Augtober” as that word has been used a lot this week to describe our temps. We got to 85 today! We will likewise fall 20 degrees but on Thursday. Tim will have to dig up those Fall clothes for your mountain getaway next week. Sounds like a fun adventure.

          2. That 85 is incredible! We’ve been hovering around 80 in the afternoons. Did that cold front get to you Thursday? It’s supposed to get here Sunday. It was too humid to walk this morning, but yesterday it was so nice we took the grandchildren to a playground after school and stayed outside there for a very long time.

          3. We have been getting to 80 all week and humid too. Yes, the cold front came thru Thursday night and we are having a very chilly weekend and beginning of next week – we could have a frost advisory for Monday morning! Just incredible Barbara … it’s as if Mother Nature flipped a switch.

          4. I know what you mean. They say the daytime high will drop 20 degrees here on Sunday. It seems like an awfully abrupt change. I guess we need more practice adjusting our wardrobes. πŸ˜‰

          5. We were supposed to have rain but never did and it was a pretty day, but downright cold. Just 41 when I got up this morning and I put the heat on then scrambled around to find gloves and a hat for my walk. Too abrupt of a change … we used to ease into Fall. Guess those days are gone with climate change. The squirrels haven’t had time to fatten up nor get their heavier fur coats yet.

          6. It’s 43Β° here this morning… Yesterday a squirrel dug a hole and buried a nut in the pot my mums are in, damaging the flowers in the process. No wonder no one else in the neighborhood has a pot of mums on their porches!

          7. That’s as cold as here in SE Michigan Barbara! Here I thought you’d be having a mild Fall! You see I was thinking your squirrels didn’t have to bury peanuts as it was mild and our squirrels had to hide them all over due to impending cold weather. I do remember years ago with more trees around and more squirrels around, the squirrels would bury peanuts in my hanging baskets and yes, ruined the plants digging them out.

          8. The weather folks said temperatures were below normal for a few days there. We’re now in Black Mountain which is near Mt. Mitchell and the summit is 34Β° but should be going up to 50Β° by the time we get there today. Tim is wearing long pants but he forgot his fall coat! When we got here yesterday afternoon we found an outdoor clothing shop and bought him a new one – hee, hee. πŸ™‚ (I bet they get a lot of business!)

          9. Wow – that is cold! Well, Tim got a new jacket from this trip plus a nice trip to boot. Hope you are seeing lots of beautiful Fall foliage – safe travels Barbara!

          10. Thank you, Linda! I was bundled up in my winter jacket and gloves up on the summit of Mt. Mitchell. Tim was very grateful for his new fall jacket. πŸ™‚

  2. Thank you for sharing your walk. I have seen small forests of those tall straight pines in upstate New York, I believe there may have been more in years past but had been harvested for the lumber. We have a forest of pines and maples among other beautiful trees, I would love to add the loblolly here as I read that they grow two feet per year.

    You must be using a very nice camera for those close up photos. I am inspired to locate our camera to use in place of iPhone photos. The maples here are vibrant with color especially those growing along ponds and rivers.


    1. You’re welcome, Cindi. I’m using a Canon Power Shot SX60 HS. It has a zoom lens that moves in or out and makes it easy for me to quickly get close ups or distances and anything in between. I find it much easier to use than my cell phone, even if it is bigger. I’m envious of your vibrant maples! Time will tell what kind of color we’re going to get down here. Looking forward to a little trip to the mountains next week. Will the loblolly pines grow in your area? The range map I’ve seen doesn’t show them growing that far north. With climate change, though, I’m sure the range maps will be changing, too, as time goes on.

  3. Truly a joy to walk through these woods with you, Barbara. The flora and fauna are so different from your beach walks, and yet your recording of them and beautiful presentation of your new life in the Carolinas is equally as captivating. Terrific quote too. I especially liked the cricket close-up, the pearl crescent butterfly (new to me) and the shaggy mushroom at the end. Beautiful life on earth….

    1. It’s always lovely to have you along on a nature walk, Jet. Thank you so much for your kind words. It’s proving to be very interesting exploring our new environment and loads of fun sharing the different wildflowers and wildlife we discover. I learn about so many “new” plants and animals and birds on your blog so it’s nice to know some of our creatures over here on the east coast are “new” to you.

  4. What an interesting place to walk — so many new and different things to feast your senses on! I imagine that’s the beauty of traveling and/or relocating: the opportunity to see things with “new” eyes.

    1. It’s pretty amazing, Debbie, how “new” so many things seem. Sometimes it makes me a little homesick, other times I feel so lucky to be able to explore a whole new world of possibilities.

  5. Could you smell the pine, Barbara? That box turtle is the star of this walk for me. Though so many wonderful creatures and things brought delight. I’m so happy you found this great trail for you two. Thanks for allowing me to sit comfortably upon your shoulder. What a wonderful experience!

    1. So happy to hear that you enjoyed this walk, TD. I don’t think I was paying any attention to the smells on this walk but I think I will start doing that now that you’ve asked that question. On my next walks I will try to do more purposeful sniffing. πŸ™‚ That turtle encounter was the icing on the cake!

  6. I also sense the similarities with the woods in Connecticut. I’m looking forward to see what subtle differences you discover.

    1. I remember your family’s house in the woods there — we could look out the windows and see nothing but trees changing with the seasons.

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