Wednesday, April 24, 2013


****Stay alert for the possibility of northern lights tonight. The sun is unsettled right now and the aurora is possible in the mid-latitudes.****

Of course, here on Roundtop, thunderstorms are marching across Pennsylvania, so it’s unlike my sky will be clear enough to look. That tends to be the rule rather than exception on the few nights of the year when the aurora borealis is likely this far south.

Around the cabin new growth, new blooms appear every day. Last night I saw the first poison ivy along the edge of my lane and the driveway. I keep hoping, to no avail obviously, that the forest canopy will soon make it too shady for these plants. But, of course, the cut for the driveway and the lane lets in the sunlight and so up jumps the poison ivy.

The fern in today’s photo has grown in the crack of this boulder for years now. It is starting to feel like an old friend, and I look for it whenever I pass. It is not on my land, and indeed is right along the edge of the lane. Even a minimal widening of the road would displace it. Its long-tern survival is thus rather precarious, but every time it lives to see another spring feels like a small victory. The fern never gets bigger and is always in the same part of the boulder’s crack. It is a survivor against all odds. It’s one of those things I try to enjoy when I see it and try not to look too far ahead into its future. Some days that’s easier than others.

For some reason, the ferns that grow profusely just 150 yards away are near-strangers to my part of the mountain. Where I am is drier, I suspect, and the soil probably less rich. Still, the divide between the ferny part of the mountain and the non-ferny part is nearly complete, so I welcome this little one to my part of the mountain. I only wish there were more around the cabin, though I will be the first to tell you that it isn’t much of a walk to enjoy several varieties of ferns in large numbers.

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