On Wednesday afternoon a very kind friend reminded me that all work and no play makes for a dull Jeannette and she took me to the neighborhood state reserve to walk and spy upon the springtime bird and bee energy of nature.
Momma seals and their pups are taking a little afternoon snooze on the protected beach. It is important that visitors stay back from the areas where the seals rest and sun, so this photo was taken with zoom aplenty.
The poppies ( Eschscholtzia californica) smell spicey to beetles which, once attracted, help pollinate the poppies. Did I learn this by sticking my nose down in the blooms? No, I was checking on the spelling of "Eschscholtzia" and learned about the fragrance and the dutiful beetles.
Even from a distance the golden blossoms glow.
We have a lovely state flower, and the state metal is gold...but do you know what our official state mollusk is?
Do I have a picture of one? Hmmm...some recent children visiting saw several in our forest and they said regarding the official native... "gross!" Apparently the abalone competed for the title, but the state mollusk title belongs to the land loving frequently visible banana slug. Here is a short movie on youtube starring two children and three banana slugs...it isn't my movie, but the children remind me of two little girls I used to know, and it is charming whereas I don't know where the photos are of the banana slugs that have posed for me. Slugs are actually a good subject for new nature photographers; it's not like trying to capture the image of a hummingbird. At top speed a mature slug can travel 6.5 inches in a minute. It gives you time to compose your picture and focus without rushing.
The other thing I learned, ( I know you are just longing to know all about them, aren't you? )
is that slugs like to eat mushrooms. They are an important part of spreading nutrients and spores around the forest floor. Now that you know they are official and functional maybe you will treat them with more respect than a "blick" or a "gross" next time you see one. Or maybe not; visceral responses are pretty hard wired.
So...pictures and silly words tonight... but as I walked in these pretty places with my kind friend, I thought especially
of people I would love to walk there with...