Monday, July 19, 2010
Yesterday I was able to get myself going early enough to arrive at Howarth Park before the sun emerged from behind the fog and before the other humans began to arrive en masse. Most days that I walk at the park, I walk a counter-clockwise loop through the trails. Today, I was feeling adventurous so I walked clockwise. I always seem to forget what a difference there is when I do this! It's like taking a whole different walk, even though I cover the same trails. The first part of the walk was in the gray, even light of a foggy morning. As the light grew brighter and we headed to higher ground I began to hear birdsong and see dragonflies. Suddenly, the sky was blue and the sun cast dark shadows against brilliantly lit fields and trees. When the light changes that way, I always feel as if I've suddenly entered an entirely different world. I love the gray foggy world, where every spider web is visible and you can look inside and easily see the spiders in the cool, even light. Then the sun comes out and it's world of nearly black shadows and bright washed out colors. The spiders and their webs disappear, unless you look very closely. Suddenly, the strong shadows draw my eyes farther out to the shapes of rocks in yellow fields of dried grasses and the shapes of the shadows in the trees.
I haven't been seeing much of the wilder California ground squirrels (Spermophilus beecheyi) since breeding season began, but they've begun to be more visible, looking rather majestic, for rodents, in that bright early morning light. One appeared to be surveying it's kingdom in the open, rocky grassland near the edge of the park. I was drawn to the other one by it's call of alarm as it sat on lookout from it's perch above a large brush pile between Howarth Park and Spring Lake Park. I never discovered the cause for alarm and watched it relax as I sketched from a distance.