Native Song

Having survived the Japanese garden at Gibb’s Gardens, I moved on with my co-shooter, John, to another part of the park.  This time, we entered an area that looked like natural woods.

As much as I enjoy gardens, natural woods are still my favorite.  By “natural,” I mean woods with plants that belong there.  This is not the same as, say, a woods covered in kudzu or so overgrown with privet or honeysuckle, you can’t even see through it.

Here, the woods had only native plants and we were both tickled when John discovered a Jack-in-the-Pulpit.  Soon, we were finding more of them.

Near by, we also found some spent Trillium, Solomon’s Seal, Virginia Creeper, and the one native I don’t like to see, Poison Ivy.  I should rephrase that.  I like to see it (it is a beneficial native), but I don’t like to be anywhere near it.  I’m starting to itch just thinking about it.

As we hunted for wild flowers, a wood thrush started serenading us.  The wood thrush’s song is my favorite.  Thrushes can sing more than one note at the same time–they harmonize with themselves.  The wood thrush in particular has a haunting, flute-like song that always makes me want to stop and listen.  You can play a clip of its song here (scroll down a bit).

Although I have heard a wood thrush many times–in fact, one used to summer near our house and was my alarm clock many mornings–I have only actually seen one once.  I have never even gotten close to getting a picture of one.  This relative of the robin is reclusive by comparison.  Wood thrushes hang out in the lower story and underbrush of the woods, magically disappearing behind the tiniest of leaves.  Their brown camouflage helps them disappear, I guess.

We eventually moved on from the wood thrush and made our way towards the rose gardens.  Along the way, John pointed out a tree that was growing at a nearly 90-degree angle.  He told me native americans used to train trees to grow at angles as a directional indicator towards water or other resources.  However, he felt this tree was too young to be an example of a pointer.  We never did get an explanation for it.

When we got to the base of the hill covered with roses, I was pooped.  Carrying around my 40+ pound backpack and tripod all day had wiped me out.  I suddenly realized I hadn’t had any water since 9:30AM and it was now nearly 3:30PM.  I looked up the hill and decided I really didn’t need to shoot any roses.

John, carrying less than 3 pounds of equipment including a bottle of water, was still feeling energetic enough to head on up to not only the roses, but also the day lilies at the top of the hill.  I guess that’s what a lifetime of experience shooting does for you.