Under partially cloudy skies Rick and I head out for a mid morning hike. On the Arlington Lawn an old friend, a lovely female Squirrel who is missing part of her tail searches for food. She turns to look at me for a portrait shot then continues foraging for her breakfast. In the distance a movement catches my eye and I see two birds near the wall. As I creep closer I see the juvenile Brown Thrasher I spotted a few days prior has been joined by another. It will be wonderful to hear their duel mimicking of birds, people and electronic devices.
On the stone wall that borders the Fountain Street Lawn Rick spots a beautiful pregnant Squirrel is eating her breakfast. She is content to let me slowly (very slowly 5 steps and pause) approach her and I am rewarded with several eye contact portrait shots. As two people approach from the opposite direction she moves on to the lawn near a Tree closer to my location. I am thankful she is very hungry devouring many nuts as we look on. I finally get a shot of a Squirrel peeling the husk from a nut. When a couple with a dog passes by she quickly climbs the Tree ahead of us.
As we reach the foot of North Mountain a single deep blue Asiatic Dayflower is blooming, only visible as it has struggled out of a tangle of vines. Nearby a lemon Lime Butterfly is balancing on bright green blades of Grass as the sun glows through parted momentarily parted clouds. A few steps onto the Floral Trail and a tiny blue gray butterfly lands on a white Rock. We hike up into the gentle green of North Mountain to a serenade of distant birds. At the trail head of the Lower and Upper Dogwood Trails a wonderful bright yellow Fungi has appeared to decorate the path.
Tan Fungi in a variety of shapes and sizes have popped up along the edges of the Hot Springs Mountain Trail. This will provide a feast for many of the small mammals and insects within the park. I spot a red Fungi covered in nibble marks, it makes me smile. As we head down Fountain Street toward our home a Male Sparrow bids us farewell.
We are several paces out of the entrance of Hot Springs National Park when I look back and see an unusual sight. In the dried leaved on the Arlington Lawn is a large winged creature. I turn a run to get around the hedge and signal to Rick to look over the side. As I get closer I can see it is a giant orange and brown Moth struggling to take flight. It moves in circles disoriented unable to become airborne. As my longtime readers know I don’t generally interfere with Natures course, but cannot leave it on the lawn to be crushed by foot traffic. I grab a leaf to move it to a peaceful location on the top of a nearby hedge, instead it grabs onto my watch band. I am unable to express the beauty of the moment as it delicately touches my wrist as I moved toward a safer location. Many came to take photographs of this beautiful gift from Nature as I gently lowered it onto the top of the hedge.
Move with patience through Nature and she will reveal many gifts and surprises. It is not the miles or speed with which we travel that makes a wonderful hike. The perfect journey is often found in the time we stop and appreciate the grace of each living creature. Nature is no place to hurry :o) I would rather take five hours to hike four miles and see the Universe unfolding before me… rather than hike five miles in 2 hours and see a blur.
Love to ALL!