Monday, July 23, 2012

Postcards from Paradise

Did I have a wonderful weekend at Pyramid Lake?  Well, how could I not?  I spent it among intelligent, informed, and peace-loving people, and we had perfect weather in one of the most beautiful parts of the Adirondacks.  I took a few photos.

Saturday dawned cool and quiet,  with clouds of mist rising from the lake's calm surface.

Skeins of web covered the lichen fruits on this moss-covered log, each thread outlined with dew.

In sheltered bays, masses of Pipewort shone in the morning sun.

That rising sun lit up the Mountain Holly berries like glowing red lamps.

Those  berries are so deeply, intensely red,  they seem to glow even in the deep shade.

This Mallard hen was warming herself in the morning sun and never moved when my boat drew near to her.  I wonder if she could sense that she had nothing to fear from the peace-loving people who come to retreat at Pyramid Lake.

This little metallic-green bee was also quite friendly, repeatedly landing on my hand and very reluctant to leave.

Here's a dragonfly almost as blue as that little bee was green.  This is a male Slaty Skimmer, who, along with others of his kind, patrolled the beach and kept it free of annoying mosquitoes and flies.

Well, this really had me stumped!  What ARE these tiny spiky critters all piled on this little Water Lily pad, and none of them moving?  When I finally plucked up my courage to pick one up to examine it closely, it hung like a limp husk from my fingers.  I later learned (thanks once again to that these are the shed skins of Water Strider nymphs.  Now I'm wondering if they all crawled together atop this lily pad to molt, all at the same time.  That would have been something to see!

It was hard to leave on Sunday afternoon, with the sunlight sparkling on the lake's pristine waters, with nary a motor boat nor a jet ski to roar across its expanse.  There was only the sound of the wind in the pines and of wavelets lapping against the shore to intrude upon the silence.  Luckily, I live but an hour away, so I can come back whenever the spirit moves me. Or when days as lovely as this one inspire me to return.


Jens said...

What is the wingspan of the blue dragonfly? For a moment I was getting a sense of scale by envisioning it sitting on a telephone pole... but then realized it could not be that big.

A Healing Reality said...

That water looks so amazingly peaceful. I can definitely see myself rowing a little boat on it and taking a little nap as the sun goes down. Have you ever rowed on it under a full moon?

catharus said...

Most fitting title!
Do you know if Mountain Holly is available from commercial nurseries?

squirrel said...

Very beautiful. I love it when you take a moment to capture the beauty of where you are. And of course I loved the water strider nymphs, I too would have loved to seen them all there changeing cloths.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Hi, Jens, good to hear from you. I would guess that dragonfly's wingspan was about 3 inches. He was resting on a rake handle.

Mexican Hillbilly, I have certainly paddled Pyramid Lake under a full moon, as well as under a moonless sky that was brilliant with stars. My favorite time is paddling at dawn, just as the rosy sky colors the mist on the lake and a silvery moon is just about to slip behind the mountains but still casts its light on the water. My blog post just before this one shows a morning just like that.

catharus, I don't know if commercial nurseries would stock Mountain Holly (Nemopanthus macronatus), but those that specialize in native plants might be more likely to. It needs a cool wetland to thrive, and it does not hold its berries into the winter, so that might not make it a very good candidate for commercial sales. But it sure is in its glory now.

Thanks, squirrel. Yes, those spiky nymph skins presented quite a puzzle. I just never know what marvels await me each time I venture out.

LNMP298 said...

Such beautiful and colorful pictures! And that blue dragonfly is really cool.