For many, the study of nature begins in your own backyard. Here in my second floor bedroom, I look out on some beautiful maple trees. One of them would be inside my bedroom if I removed the screen. My squirrel friend, Itchy Twitchy (or one of his kin), has been hanging out eating maple seeds off the ends of branches, fattening up for the winter. He’s an amazing little acrobat, able to hang on with his toes leaving his hands free to grab up the dangling seeds.
I’m glad to see he’s selecting healthy, natural squirrel fare instead of diving into the trash can!
I am participating in the Wehr Nature Center’s Halloween event this weekend. They present a nature walk lit by jack o’ lanterns that features various costumed characters who teach about wildlife and traditions of Halloween. There are some lovely teenaged girls volunteering who represent decomposers like Millipede and Roly-poly. They do a rap song. I am playing two different characters. I am V.C. Frog for two nights and the Witch for our sold out Saturday night. I suppose you’re wondering what V. C. stands for. (That’s actually one of my lines.) It stands for Very Crabby. VC has litter and algae and petroleum products clinging to him. He is looking for a clean pond. One of the visitors listening to my schtick piped up to say that he is a Boy Scout, and he regularly scoops litter out of his local pond. I thanked him on behalf of frogs everywhere.
Doing my part last night entailed standing on a wood chip path in the rain in a fleece frog suit with mosquito netting covering my face. The full moon eventually shone through the dissipating clouds. The Canada geese on the pond were making as much noise as the volunteer owl who ‘hooted’ loudly at intervals. I was croaking softly as the walkers approached me. I do a pretty good croak. It was strangely surreal, though. Natural and fake at the same time. Is this harmonizing with the planet?
I read in our local paper that there is a 420-million year old tropical reef here in Wauwatosa. This piece of land has been hidden behind an industrial site for decades. Before that, it was part of a quarry. A recent purchase of the land by the Historic Preservation Committee will allow limited access to the public. Fossils from this site that were collected by a local pioneer physician are housed at Harvard. I look forward to exploring the area and trying to imagine this place under equatorial waters.
What’s in your backyard?