Friday, May 18, 2012

Along the James River: The Enchanted Forest

Yesterday we explored the beach and the cypress grove at Chippokes.
But I saved this photo for today.
This cypress knee looks to me like a singing bird,
its song a celebration of morning in a picturesque place.
Perhaps this avian cypress knee was
once a real bird that was bewitched or bedazzled
by the magic of tiny forest folk.

Not so hard to believe,
considering the land side of the James River beach
is reminiscent of a fairy tale.
It is easy to imagine that the clear pools and streams
are visited by wood nymphs
whose slender fingers stir the waters in the quiet hours.

The waters of this woodland do present a paradox.
They are both clear and dark.
Grass that grows in the sylvan pools remains green and alive.

And yellow flag, a member of the iris family, 
grows with abandon under the trees:
Its bright blossoms stand out from tender grasses.

Time slows down in the Chippokes enchanted forest.
Nothing rushes, nothing hurries,
nothing strives to be where it is not.
Fat-bellied tadpoles reside in the water,
lulled by its hypnotic warmth.
Following is the link for a short video.
 At times it may appear the film has stopped,
but the tadpoles are just floating.
Look closely, a few minnows swim by too.

Back on the top of the bluff,
the forest floor is polka-dotted with wee little wood violets:

Tree bark grows in shingles, rough and nubby to the touch:

And spreading tree roots firmly anchor smooth-barked trees in the sandy soil.

Nothing renews the soul like a day spent in nature.
Tomorrow, we go back to the Plantation 
to visit Tazewell the pig's animal companions,
including two that were born with unusual markings on their backs.
And soon I'll show you the creature we encountered.

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