Last week Erik and I went across the bay to Marin County to do some exploring. We ate some wonderful fried brussels sprouts with aïoli (not being a potato person, these actually beat french fries for me) and had a ramble through the woods at Point Reyes National Seashore.
I have been painting so much lately, it’s started to affect the way I see — which is a delightful thing. I gazed at the trees and saw fascinating arrangements of branch and leaf and negative space. I looked at the forest floor and reveled in the color combination of deep umber earth and wood, sienna redwood leaves (needles?), bright yellow and orange leaves, and frosty lichens — with creamier golden and white hues of acorn and mushroom.
In fall the poison oak, which during the rest of the year hides greenly in plain sight, flames with red like the danger it is. On these trails it covered the ground and climbed the trees, swathing their trunks with fiery color. We kept our distance, but I gasped and gaped from the safety of the path.
In the meadows we found fat quails and tall grasses, but underneath the tree canopy the earth regaled us every few steps with fungi — and their eager consumers, the banana slugs.
We must have seen one or two dozen of the slugs on our hourlong hike. They startled me every time I came across one unexpectedly (which was often, given their camouflage), but they are so interesting to look at… and so huge; we saw one the length of my hand. Sorry if they creep you out — better skim past the next few pics. I find them grossly enthralling myself: I love to look at (and photograph) them, but I’m really glad they live in the woods and not in our yards!
Here’s the clincher of grossness if the slugs disgust you: I took a video of two of them eating a mushroom.
And here, have something different to clean your eyes after those slugs!
I had such fun examining all the colors and textures of the forest, I came home inspired to do more with the photos. More on that tomorrow… but for now, the rest of the Point Reyes set is here on flickr.
I love these photos, Lisa! Thanks for sharing them. Even the slug ones.
PS: Your spot on my WordPress subscription roll, shows the video image large, which is interesting considering it’s the next to last image. I, uh, thought you’d been spammed for a split second. (Without context, my first impression was of a… um… um… never mind.)
Thanks, Ré! Hahahahaha — your mistaken impression made me smile for hours. 😀 Glad I wasn’t spammed, that would have been a shocker for sure!
Beautifulllllll photos Lisa, simply mesmerising, even the banana slugs (which i have never seen before and understand why you’d find them grossly fascinating, haha!) How strange that they like eating mushrooms! And no, I didn’t watch the video, not sure if I could bear quite THAT much visual stimulation! 😀
Thanks so much, Munira! I have to say I’ve been much more interested in slugs since filming these two… I found one in my compost the other day and was GLAD to see it instead of grossed out!
What a fun and energizing way to spend a day, Lisa. You missed an opportunity to do a yoga pose though. (I loved the tree pose you did last year on your drive up the coast.) Is there a mushroom pose :)? When I was growing up in California I never missed the opportunity to “play” in the poison oak (unintentionally, of course). When it is that beautiful crimson though, it is easier to avoid.
Oh, it didn’t even occur to me to do any yoga! I wonder why? You’re right though — it was the perfect setting for tree pose. 🙂 Heh. I don’t know if there’s a mushroom pose. 😉