The scale of things

The aspect was obstructed by neither winter blanket nor summer veil. Air echoed among those that watched.

She stepped lightly, sensitive to the living things beneath her feet.

There, she said. They are very small. Very pretty. She turned to greet them.

We are at ease in a world of tall, wide, deep, and heavy. I worked to reconsider my surroundings, to allow me to see as she did and at this uncomfortable scale. It was only when I stopped and concentrated that I managed. It was only when I focused, that the things she saw so easily, crystallized from out of that place I could not see. At a scale that mattered to them, these were beautiful things indeed. Growing. Developing, in swirled asymmetries.

The individuals you see here are sporophytic. As they grow, these Fiddleheads will unfurl to form the plants we know as Ferns. Sporophytes produce spores which disperse and germinate to produce gametophytes. Fern gametophytes are small and don’t look much like their sporophytic progenitors. Gametophytes produce egg and sperm which fuse to form the sporophyte once again.


17 thoughts on “The scale of things

    • Yup … and they turned up in the market when local supplies became available. I’ve never tried them but would imagine they are very good … green things usually are!

  1. I wonder if anyone has ever carved fine details into the scroll of a violin to make it look like a real fiddlehead of a fern (in shape, at least, if not color).

    And how obliging of this coiled fern to present a planar face that you could make your camera’s sensor parallel to.

  2. Houses grow as surely as plants. Some people think they’re only constructed, but that’s not so. There are too many decisions, too many frustrations, too many dreams involved: each one is different, and at some point, they take on life. Your mention of your RV brought a rush of memories. That was how it was, after tropical storm Allison: one flooded house taken down to the studs, one RV residence in the driveway. It was quite an experience. although the RV provided not only shelter, but also a vantage point to keep an eye on the workers. Of course, with hundreds of houses going up at once, there were storm chasers galore. Roofers and construction workers with out-of-state plates weren’t always the best choice.

    I grew up watching ferns uncurl in our side yard, and I’m still fascinated by them.One of the groups I follow on Twitter is the American Fern Society. It’s the sort of account that makes social media worthwhile.

    • Thanks for the supportive and encouraging words Linda. Perhaps I should be blogging about this experience? At the turn of the year we owned two homes. Then we sold one and demolished the other and went from two to none! A weird feeling to be sure. We feel a bit adrift and hope that we can get things moving fast enough to be in the new place before autumn turns. The RV has a heat pump that does a reasonable job when temperatures are warmer than the upper thirties. When it’s any colder, an auxiliary propane furnace kicks in. It does a reasonable job as well but burns through fuel rapidly. Since we’ve been installed here the temperatures have fallen to around 25F several times. We had the waterlines freeze once and then got wise and let one of the faucets drip overnight. On another note (perhaps somewhat related to RV living), I’ve been living vicariously through a series of videos of a young couple sailing (mostly) the Caribbean. At one time, long ago, I thought that was something I might like to do. It’s funny that I never watch with sound, the images are enough to remind me of experiences I never had. []

      • I’ve lived aboard a 31′ sailboat, too, and am here to tell you the similarities between an RV and a cruising sailboat are real. In fact, many cruisers I know buy an RV after they’ve sold the boat, and go “land-cruising.” They love the life, but sailing is hard work if you’re doing more than day-sailing the bay, and there comes a time when the rewards come at too high a cost: particularly physically.

        You’ve reminded me of the December ice storm that arrived when I was living aboard. Another gal was lazy and didn’t turn her boat around, so the companionway faced away from the north wind. She got iced in, with a full two inches or more covering the boards. and had to wait to be chipped free.

  3. Another lovely image. You are right to encourage us to look past the world of tall, wide, deep and heavy (reminds me of NYC!) and look down at the smalls. June and I were in the yard yesterday. Showed her the tiny white lilies of the valley that were forming inside the curled green leaves. Magical. I agree with Steve’s comment. Interesting to have the reverse in the background! The stems look like burlap!

  4. I had no idea that you were building on a previously occupied site. We had a house next door to us that was condemned (another story that does not have to be told here). The new owners did as you, had it removed and a new house erected … in their case a two part pre-fab. Are you getting a new foundation or is that hole an old cellar hole?

    When I took up learning about plants … lumping fungi (mostly asexual but not all), mosses etc in where they don’t really belong … I was amazed that their reproduction was as ours, the mating of a sperm and egg.

    I like that you got a reversed fiddlehead in the background. Is it a different species? Seems a bit woolier.

    • You picked up on the house project I see. I’ve been quiet about it since it didn’t seem a very interesting topic for blogging. We overwintered in the structure that was here when we arrived and that has now been crunched and hauled away. The excavation work just finished today and we are hoping that footings will be poured sometime next week. Maybe we’ll have a foundation within a week or two after that. We’ve been ascending the learning curve represented by living (on the property) in an RV and are, I think, doing quite well. The plan is for the new house to be net-zero-energy … we’ll see.

      • I am very envious of the net-zero concept … and of the opportunity to watch one’s shelter be created as you watch. We sort of did that when we had an addition put on, but it’s not the same as one’s home.

        Blogging doesn’t have to always be interesting in terms of content. I think sharing a little of one’s self and life helps folks get a better knowledge of the blogger. How many square feet? Once the foundation is poured, the rest of the structure should move quickly. I am sure that your faithful readers would be happy to see an occasional post with pictures of the house rising from the ground.

    • Ah! It’s you! How have you been? We are currently living in an RV … house is gone and a large hole has grown in its place. We pass you each and every time we travel. Rest area at Bennington is world’s best … solar hot water … it doesn’t get any better.

      • Oh for heaven’s sake, you should pull off Exit 2 sometime and stop by! We are great, busy, as always. Was in Randolph yesterday to pick up some goat skins – thought of my new neighbors from PA! Great to see your beautiful photography & prose!

        • Goat skins? What new endeavor will those support? Our remaining connections to PA are few and tenuous … the most significant of which is the store of nearly 100 raw fleeces still in the barn there. That’s #1 on our remaining list of things to do. Problem is … we don’t have anywhere to store such a volume at the moment … and won’t for another six months or so.

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