Tuesday, November 10, 2009

November - A Month of Infinite Variety

November is the month of leaves crunching under foot, the month of first ice and the beaver moon. It's the season of the rut -- deer on the move. Song bird nests are empty, chickadees tear at sunflower seeds and it's high time you and I take down our hummingbird feeder: those hovering beauties are long gone. Wild turkeys stalk our woodlands in flocks and make guest appearances in many suburbs and city fringes.  And with leaves down, the lay of the land becomes increasingly visible exposing  hidden secret.  You may spy a small tree under a  forest canopy: if that tree sprouts bright yellow spider like blossoms now, you've found witch hazel, a tree that blooms right up to Thanksgiving. Gusts of wind send the silky parachutes of cracked milkweed pods to flight and set papery grey hornet nests swinging.   No need to worry about the hornets. The nests are empty. The stinging inhabitants are dead except for the queens who are already in hibernation under logs and in woodchip piles. And here's where I'm going with this ramble: Go visit a park or go for a neighborhood walk and be bold; don't let your child bring along any electronic devices.   Last week I was down at Edisto State Park in the lowcountry of South Carolina and was amazed, but sadly not surprised to watch two young kids about seven or eight years old whose parent's car sported Michigan plates, sit by the ocean and play video games of some sort as pelicans dove into the water and shrimp boats chugged off shore  They did not even walk to the water's edge, pick up a sea shell or look anyplace but down at their laps till the parent's said, "Time to go".  Earth's almanac is always open to explore but we  need to find a way to transform youthful energy away from the world of addictive electronic distractions to the wonders of nature that make every day full of magic, even in the "drab" month of November.


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