It never ceases to amaze me that whenever Igo into the woods just below our house, Iinvariably see something I've never noticed before. And this morning was no exception.
After strolling down the hill into the forest, I took a seat on a spread of dead oak leaves. Then I proceeded to take in what could be seenfrom this particular vantage point. Lots of tall chestnut oaks, some hickories and tupelo. There were smaller red maples, slender and leaning in one direction or another. Some moosewood, a few as tall as the maples, others no taller than a shrub. And here and there alittle'tree sprout,' no more than a foot high and sporting just a few leaves. And there was no shortage of fallenbranches strewn about,resting at various angles and some partially covered in a year or two's worth ofdead leaves.
As I sat looking, I began to take in more. A large ant on a mission, determinedly carrying somelittle white sphere uphill and down through the leaves. The cicadas, I noticed, were almost silent, after having made quite a din yesterday. Only a couple of birds were singing. A woodpecker tapped for a few moments.
And, perhaps most dramatic of all,the sun cast streaks of light through the treesonto a patch of forest floor, onto leavesfluttering from certain trees, onto a few tree trunks.
Then my eye caught something I don't remember having seenbefore.
About 30 feet away, onthe trunk of a hickory tree lit by the morning sun, was a very large shadow of aleaf. The shadow came from one of the fewchestnut oak leaves that hung on a spindly tree between the sun and the hickory. Of course I had to capture the tree with its leaf shadow on film (if one canrefer to digital photography as film!). Moving nearer to the tree to take my picture, I noticed, on a pine tree farther on, amuch more pleasing,even delightfulshadow. Thereon the reddish pine bark danced several small leaf shadows. As the breeze rustled the living leaves on a nearby red maple, their shadows moved gracefully in the sunshine against theirscaly pine bark background. The sight gave me joy, andI eagerlysnapped a couple of pictures.
Feeling very happy as I hiked back up the hill to the house, I pausedto observe a daddy long legs ambling along nearby. It too paused, and with a couple of its legs, sensitively investigated my shoe. Then the daddy long legs moved on. I watchedas its small body, suspended among many long, arched legs, cast a little oblong shadow thatfollowedalong on the ground. April Moore