25 June 2011


Now commences my long service leave. I do not have to return to work until January 2012. This is certainly the longest time I have had without any work commitments since I was a wayward youth of 18 or so on the unemployment benefit.

Right now I am actually on the road with Claire to Jindera for a performance of the Strange Weather Gospel Choir. This morning though, before throwing a few things in my bag for the overnight trip, I took a few photos in the park next to my house. There is not a lot there, a stretch of grass, some gums, bushes and a fair strand of Casuarina equisetifolia. It is an average Australian suburban park.

The slumbering grass growing in the umbra of the trees was well-frosted, awaiting the arc of the sun's light to fully awaken. I squatted and struggled to maintain the focus of my macro lenses on the kingdom of ice crystals surrounding me. I felt dissatisfied with the shots I took and walked in closer to the trees.

There I thrilled to discover a world of bursting fruits, insectile activity and clinging dew. My feeling was that I could easily spend a day in the company of just one tree studying its moods. Thoreau it was who learnt the great lessons of nature at Walden by virtue of keeping patient company with the woods and watching the seasons pass.

According to Wikipedia, "the fruit is an oval woody structure 10–24 mm long and 9–13 mm in diameter, superficially resembling a Conifer cone and made up of numerous carpels each containing a single seed with a small wing 6–8 mm long."

Click twice on the picture above to see amazing little spikes on the legs of the inverterbrate. I will find out what they are. You can see something quite similar on the legs of the jumping spider below. It took a lot of guts to take that picture.

These spiders has been known to jump up to 50 times their own body length by suddenly increasing the blood pressure in their third or fourth pair of legs. Widely distributed across North America, this spider is only 2cm in length, but this makes their terrific launching power no less alarming.

Source: Phidippus Audax @ Wikipedia.

Phidippides the audacious, bold, corageous, daring and intrepid runner who in 490 BC ran from Athens to Sparta to beseech aid for the Battle of Marathon. According to Herodotus, as quoted in the Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World, Pan imagined a religion for himself in conversation with Phidippides along the way. (Also, Chambers Murray Latin-English Dictionary).

The entomon in question seems to resemble in some way the forms at the top and bottom right of this picture by Haeckel in his Meisterwerk Kunstformen der Natur:

All this I record by way of saying I would be a fool to find myself bored in the coming months. No matter how my nascent travel plans manifest, everywhere is a world of wonder and beauty.

Quotes from Thoreau are coming, when soon I read him early one morning by a lake, or wandering with camera in frozen wood. Or on a chair if I am lucky.

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