Heavy flooding followed by a deep freeze without any snow fall left the floor of the quarry in the DePauw Nature Park in a perfect state to study everything frozen.
Last week we took care of the plant life under ice, today we enjoy the even more abstract world of ice, rock, and air.
Usually we think of frozen surface water as relatively thin, tw-dimensional layer of homogeneous white ice. Here, the few inches fo water were frozen solid and provided an unusual view into a short-lived world.
Of course the rocks and ice structures where already pretty, but streams of frozen air bubble provided a three-dimensional appearance that I hadn’t seen before.
What else is there when we don’t look?
When you stand there looking at stuff, inevitably people stop and look, too (the major cause of traffic jams). This time, I drove the other lone hiker away by claiming that through shear conecentration, I would make the icicles fall. As it was way above freezing, I had not much to do for a proof…
More serious was the encounter with the quarry warden who had been driving in his little electric cart forth and back along the rim trail, trying to clear the ice that had caused the responsible people to close the trail (it wasn’t that slippery).
He had evidently spotted me down in the quarry, off trail, wading over frozen ponds, crouching down and using weird equipment.
It took him 20 minutes to get to me. He turned out to be harmless, so I decided to pretend the same.
I started talking about how the bubbles and the ice crystals had begun to emulate the shape of the frozen plants, and I was wondering whether there were any special spirits behind it. Off he went, leaving me alone with my little world.
If I suddenly stop blogging, chances are somebody has seen through me.
Using a macro lens with 5-fold magnification is an odd experience. The usual, somewhat trivial “workflow” for taking a picture: Look-Frame-Capture doesn’t apply, because one doesn’t see what one might get until one is really close.
This time I was erring around in DePauw’s Nature Park’s quarry with its fascinating ground. How could I predict that the lump of greenness that has survived the recent cold spell here is up close a fully active miniature ecosystem, collecting and preserving water for nutrition and climatization?
To see what you see here with the naked eye you’d need a magnifying glass.
The depth of field is of course abysmal, and I don’t usually have the patience to stack (at least) a dozen images.
It’s good to know that there is a small world unfazed by the machinations of the big guys.
What are blurred images good for?
Are they just there to cover up blemishes of reality or the lack of skills of the photographer?
Or is having more information always better? Shouldn’t at least something be in focus, always?
Or better, everything, with absolute clarity, so that nothing is hidden and no question remains?
Sometimes, I think, it is necessary to reconsider everything.
Last November I mused whether the Sycamore trees would, over the years, take over the quarry in DePauw Nature Park. My recent visit made me skeptical.
There are still lots of little sproutlings, but what I thought looks like early fall coloring in the top picture and below,
turns out to be something else up close.
At least one half of the younger trees are affected by leaf loss and dead branches, and the brown color look rather unhealthy.
It might be that these trees are affected by Anthracnose, or that just the generally problematic ground cover of the quarry causes malnutrition, as Bryan from DePauw University suggested. We will have to wait.
I have written before about the perspective vertically down, and complained that in Indiana, you only see mud or decaying leaves. So, let’s have a look.
What is this stuff? I have only seen it at the DePauw Nature Park, near water. It is likely organic, but never green. Is there a zombie-plant whose natural state of existence is that of decay?
But not everything is decaying. Roots are feeling their way, and algae cover everything in wondrous patterns.
Tiniest plants remind us that we are little, too.
Hence let us rest…
No, winter isn’t over. While we are waiting impatiently another one or two months for the first wild flowers to come out, Nature itself appears to be very patient
These sycamore fruits have been hanging there all winter.
Around them is proof that there has been a future.
This is not Waiting for Godot. Instead, this is comfortable trust: L’enfer, c’est les autres.