Saturday, April 3, 2010

Could go no further.

What a nice, varied day here at Bernheim. This morning I woke up to drizzly, grey weather and gusty wind blowing outside, which gave me a great excuse to stay in with my hot coffee and work on the most recent video in my collaborative series with experimental music duo Lurch and Holler. (We're working together on a group of extremely weird and fun music videos that I'm very fond of. Eventually I will post some clips here! Also, you should listen to their music if you haven't--it is quite intoxicating.)

At around noon the heavens cleared and sun poured down. I wandered a little through the arboretum, and met up with Operations Man Lonnie in the Holly section, who was looking for a domestic bunny that had been sighted frolicking in the Hollies. Apparently someone dumped him off at the arboretum to get rid of him. Poor little bunny... I can't imagine he'll last long out there if he isn't rescued. (Particularly after seeing the dismembered bunny tail yesterday.) I hope his days in the arboretum are joyful, while they last.

I made my way onto a looping woodsy trail which at one point brought me to the tree in the picture I posted above. What a glorious tree it was! How I wanted to sit underneath it and have a picnic! But a big fence blocked my path, so I carried on...

The trail eventually brought me to the Visitor's Center, where the First Saturday events were taking place. A number of volunteer naturalists had set up exhibits and were teaching visitors about native snakes, raptors, mammals, butterflies and moths, trees and other plants. I learned that cattail fluff was used by the American Indians in this region as diaper padding; that you can make syrup out of poplar bark; that if my eyes/head were the same proportion as an owl's, my eyes would be the size of grapefruits; and that groundhogs are actually related to squirrels and sometimes climb trees!

I spent a long time talking to a sweet and engaging fellow named Mac who is a beekeeper. He was full of fascinating stories and history, and loved to use bees as a metaphor for human society. He would insert one story into another, creating a tapestry of bee-information, but then would frequently lose track of what he had been talking about, laugh, and say, "Well, I'm at that point in life where my memory isn't as well-oiled!" He told me that he was once a bail-and-wire farmer and used mules on his land! He was fascinating. I swapped compost bin stories with a girl on the horticulture staff named Trudy, and made some plans to meet up with her and hear about the projects going on at Bernheim.

When I finally wandered back to the cabin at 4:00, I was surprisingly exhausted! Probably from so much sunshine and interesting conversation. And here I am... ready for a nap!

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