Looking Closely


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At this very moment, I have ants rebuilding their homes in my driveway, after a heavy dew. They are piling the sand into high mounds that rise from the top of their low ant hills. I can’t decide if they remind me of natural land formations, primitive structures or modern architecture.

Right now, the spider that continues to persistently leave a web stretching from one side of the Fox Lake Road to the other, destroyed daily by the first traveler each morning, is probably (I imagine) heaving a sigh as he once again sends that first silken line across the road.

Today, leaves that were green yesterday are showing color, feeling brittle…dropping.

Mushrooms growing in my yard provide an ever-changing show among the grass.

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When my friend,  Les, was a student at Central Michigan University’s Biological Station on Beaver Island, he found himself in the position, for a few days,  of teaching a science class at the community school here.

He took his students outside, to study one cubic foot of earth.

First, everything on the surface was listed, from inert matter to living plants, insects and other organisms. Next, below the surface, where roots, grubs and earthworms kept company. On like that, through the layers, working twelve inches down. It became evident under those watchful eyes that loamy layers gave way to sand and then to gravel, that most life was close to the surface, and that there was a long list of things to be identified.

How many cubic feet in that school yard…in my driveway…on the beach…in this world…go unnoticed?

I don’t have the impetus of a scientist or even a student, to study the world around me. I am usually rushing from one thing to another, paying little attention to my surroundings. Still, as a participant in this world, it is important to take notice. When I do, I know it is also a source of great wonderment and joy.

About cindyricksgers

I am an artist. I live on an island in northern Lake Michigan, USA. I have two grown daughters, four strong, smart and handsome grandsons and one beautiful, intelligent and charming granddaughter. I live with two spoiled dogs. I love walking in the woods around my home, reading, writing and playing in my studio.

4 responses »

  1. I’m all for paying attention to surroundings, but examining one square foot of earth? Maybe when I have a little more time on my hands. I love how you describe the ant and spider activities where you are. I hope your autumn is beautiful and wonder-filled.

    • So far, this season is lovely, Sara. Not much autumn color yet, but changing every day. Yes, I am also not going to examine the earth that closely…but I remind myself off and on to at least take notice. Thanks for reading, and, as always, for your thoughtful comments!

    • Thanks, Tammy. I don’t take much time learning the ins and outs of my little point and shoot camera. I’m always surprised when I get a real stunner. Often, though, these close up shots are perfectly clear and focused. Thanks for reading, and for your comments!

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