We’re in a holding pattern at Wild Ozark right now, which is in its own way a sort of liminal space. Rob has two hernias and we’re waiting for the surgeon’s office to call with his appointment day/time.
So while he limits his movements to the barest possible, I’m staying nearby to fetch things so he doesn’t have to get up any more often than necessary. In the meantime, I’m working on moving the shop items to the new Nature Shop online and cleaning up my blog.
The post below was an article originally published in 2014. I’m in the process of cleaning up some old articles and formatting them to fit the standards required for Instant Articles and AMP. So I hope you enjoy this <Rewind> episode.
A Liminal Space
It’s not a special time of year right now, but kind of in between seasons. A “twilight” of the seasons. I didn’t think there’d be much to take pictures of when Rob and I took a hike on the mountain the other day. All of my favorite plants are already dormant for the remainder of the year. But being a “between” time, makes it a liminal sort of space and that’s my favorite kind of place to be.
I was not disappointed in the photo opportunities.
Trees and Leaves
There were still leaves in various shades of color.
We saw some of the largest oak leaves I’ve ever seen.
There was an old tree that had split and a long polished splinter jutted out from the trunk. The grain of that wood was beautiful! It looked like a black walnut tree and I wished we had with us a way to cut that splinter loose so I could bring it home.
There were a lot of downed trees, probably from several years ago when the ice storm came. We lost a lot of trees on the mountains during that storm and I vividly remember the sound of trunks snapping as the stress of holding the weight of too much ice crossed the line of tolerance. Just then I passed a partially rotted limb that reminded me of a bone. A tree bone.
Adam and Eve Orchid
And then I saw an Adam and Eve orchid, which surprised me. I didn’t think they’d still be out at this time of year. I knew they were early risers in spring and have a page or two in my photo essay book that talks about them. But I don’t recall ever seeing them in early winter before. I’ll have to play closer attention each year from now on to see if it’s a normal occurrence.
At the time I composed the book, I didn’t have photos of the roots to show the “Adam” and “Eve”. Now I do. If you read the book and wondered how the roots look, here are some photos!
Ferns and Green Plants
There were a few other green plants still, besides the cedars.
There was an old moss covered stump on the ground with only a small opening. It looked like it could have been a fairy or sprite hideout.
Here are some grape/rattlesnake ferns. One is bronzed and the other is not. It’s always hard for me to tell which kind they are, rattlesnake or grape fern, so I just lump them both together.
Ozark Mountain Springs
Then we saw what we call “spring grass”. When you see this kind of grass in the middle of the woods, it usually means there’s a spring seeping up keeping the ground moist right there. I brushed the leaves away to see if the ground really was wet, and it was. The picture I took of the wet ground didn’t come out very good so I won’t post it, but there was a lot of moisture. You can see the spring grass, still greenish for now.
After a bit more climbing we found a much better spring, and then another. Hidden springs are one of the most magical places I know.
We finally made it to the logging road. I took it back to the house and Rob returned the way we’d come because he’d left the four-wheeler parked on the other end of the valley where we’d entered the woods.
On the way back I saw some of my favorite grass catching sunlight in a bit of seed fluff.
I hope you enjoyed this virtual nature walk from Wild Ozark! If you did, please share it with your friends. This post will eventually become a Wild Ozark Nature Journal e-book. Thank you for joining me 🙂
Predator and Prey, or the hunter and the hunted is a common theme throughout my fiction writing. No Qualms, one of my short stories (free at most retailers) is about about a predator/prey relationship. Symbiosis, my first finished novel, deals with predator/prey relationships and the balance of energy among life on earth, sometimes symbolic and often outright. Many of my flash fiction stories (I have twitterfiction and 100-word flash stories) are also dealing with this same dynamic. This is a strong theme that runs through most of my fiction and is strongly influenced by life in the wild Ozarks where we live. My first published novel, First Hunt, also has a predator and prey theme to it. I guess it's just part of my nature.
Wild Ozark is 160 acres of beautiful wild Ozark mountains. I call what I do "nature farming" because the land produces, all by itself, the shagbark hickory trees, ferns, moss, ground-fall botanicals, and the perfect habitats for growing and stewarding American ginseng. I'm co-creating with Nature - all of the things I use to make the Fairy Gardens and Forest Folk, the bark we harvest for Burnt Kettle's shagbark hickory syrup, are produced by nature without my input. This land is my muse for inspiration when it comes to my writing, drawing, and photography. It's truly a Nature Farm.
About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods
I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.