Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Clearing

The heavy cedar areas at Blue Jay Barrens contain many small clearings. The adventure books I read as a child always depicted the clearings as places where the most interesting of things occurred. If a clearing was evident in the story, the main characters were either hidden in the trees watching magical events unfold in the clearing, or they were in the clearing themselves partaking in a wondrous experience. Those stories make it impossible for me to approach a clearing without having just a touch of eager anticipation of what I might find. So, as I walk, I find myself steering toward those little clearings just to see what I might discover.

It looks like there was something going on here, but I missed it. More deer sign. A buck has been scratching and rubbing at the ground. When I was young, deer sign was a rare thing to discover and it was always cause for excitement. Now there are so many deer around that finding a place where they haven’t been is a wondrous thing.

From the looks of the moss, there might have been a deer square dance in this clearing. This is what the ground looked like for a distance of about 15 feet on all sides of the scrape in the earth. This must have been a really energetic deer.

In the same clearing, I found one of my favorite asters. This is Sky Blue Aster, Aster oolentangiensis. This aster is fairly common in the dry prairies and barrens.

The stout leaves change in shape as you move up the stalk. Low on the stalk they have a long narrow petiole, which becomes shorter and slightly winged on the mid-stalk and then the leaves become nearly sessile at the point where the flower bearing branches begin.

The thing I really find amazing about these plants is the change in color as the flowers wilt. At one point in the process they become what I would describe as a deep sky blue. I wonder if this is the source of the name. I think this is my favorite shade of blue. I guess this clearing did contain something magical after all.


  1. Hi Steve...Well I'm glad that the possibility of anything dancing there was only square dancing deer!!
    No jitter-bugging Elf's huh??
    I saw your post yesterday but had a bunch of appointments !
    I'll have to check out back and see if the buck have continued to destroy the Spruce tree!!
    The Aster is beautiful even with the gone by flowers..nice blue I agree!!

  2. Good morning, Steve. Did you miss the obvious magical plants in your post today - the Lycopodium - which I understand to be associated with magic and mystery and healing for ages?

  3. Now, grammie g, I think you're trying to fool me. You would never find any elves here. The sprites and fairies keep them away.

    Hello anonymous. I did notice the Lycopodium, but in my youthful adventures, clearings were always associated with buried treasure or the antagonist's encampment or the making of secret plans. Now, if I see Lycopodium in a glade, I'll be instantly on the alert for the appearance of many a mythical creature.