Saturday, January 07, 2017

first wander of the year; critters, mushrooms, & tears

 
We've had a bout of rainy weather which means the mushrooms are out, so of course we hied off in search of them. we hit the jackpot up in Cambria at one of our favorite wanders on the Fiscalini Ranch reserve where there is potential to wander for miles.
We wandered for about two hours but did not cover much distance as I spent most of the time hunting out mushrooms to photograph. Along the way we met up with happy pups, excited kiddos, and all sorts of squelchy mud!
At one point, I wandered of the path a little to capture a particularly stunning yellow specimen, as I carefully stepped along the flooded grass, I noticed something was a little tiny bit off. The grass appeared to be popping up from the ground. It was unusual and interesting enough to cause me to pause. I watched to motion in the grass and suddenly realized it was spiders! Hundreds of not-too tiny black and grey jumping spiders all traveling willy-nilly in the same direction! I crouched down lower to the ground to see if I could identify the creepy crawlies. They moved far too quickly for me to get a good look and far-far too quickly for a picture...perhaps they were camera shy? I was floored with the awesomeness of it all. How serendipitous to be in this spot and see this migration! The number of arachnids made us wonder if there was a hatching in the area but their size appeared to be too large for wee spideys and too small for tarantula spiderlings. Whatever the reasons, I stood there with the goofiest grin on my face....the stunning yellow specimen now off limits as I was afraid to get all stompy on the critters. Really, this has to be one of the cooler things we have come across. So cool!
After an appropriate amount of time with me saying "look at them!" over and over again, we returned to the path and our wander. Not far up the pathway from the spiderlings, we encountered another large number of critters, this time, monarchs! Not in the hundreds, mind you, but enough that our vision was filled with their spotty bodies and bold orange wings.
I stood there with the ocean to my back, a glorious assortment of mushrooms captured in my camera, the memory of the spiders still lingering, and the stunning sight of monarchs in their mating dance not two feet in front of us and my heart swelled, my breath caught, and the tears, oh the tears! I beamed so much my eyes got all squinty. I turned to the mister, a smiling sobbing mess of a jek and he reached over squeezed my should and said "you're such a nincompoop", and with that, he gave me a hug and a kiss and we stood there, holding hands in this really lovely embrace of nature.