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Wednesday, March 18, 2009
A number of years ago when I was teaching a Sunday School class the kids and I made up a devotional exercise called "Summer Rainbows." During the week they would look for something in nature with each color of the spectrum. They wrote down each find, and thought of something to thank God for that related to each item. It's a little harder in the winter, but I've found a set again recently, and I'll share it with you. I wanted to make one more winter rainbow- had a hard time with yellow, but it's a pale yellow. When spring starts to pop, this will be easy again.
The twigs of the red-osier dogwood are really RED at this time of year. With the light hitting them at a low angle they really shine. It is a wetland shrub, very common here on damp ground that has occasional standing water. I found these on an undeveloped lot right in town. Thank you, Lord, for the wild places that remain hidden, even in the city, where frogs sing and birds may build nests.
The moss is starting to reproduce. These ORANGE stalks are the sporophytes growing up like fingers from the green moss. With this picture next to the dogwood shrub there is no sense of proportion. These are less than an inch tall! I'm really grateful that there is such wonderful variety in the natural world to keep exploring.
I've had everything for this rainbow except YELLOW for two weeks. This crusty lichen is a pale yellow, not quite white. Lichens are good environmental indicators- they won't grow where there is a lot of pollution. I don't know much about lichens, but just learned that there is a local man who does and he is writing a column in the paper every month about them. Thanks, God, for other people who find joy in discovering the hidden treasures in creation.
This spinulose fern picture was taken in New York on my hike with Irene. I had to choose between a closeup of the leaf or this long shot with the three fronds. I like the way it fans out from the base, so I chose the long shot. This fern stays GREEN all year under the snow, even when beaten down. Now there is a lesson from God if there ever was one! Thanks for the reminder, Lord!
BLUE is another crusty lichen. And it's blue-gray. If we want real blue we'll have to wait for the crocuses and windflowers- they will be here soon! Well, I don't know exactly what to say about this one. Lichens just make me smile because they are a mystery of cooperation between a fungus that needs food and an algae that needs water, so I'm grateful for things that make me happy.
I also found this very PURPLE black raspberry cane on the walk with Irene. Black raspberries have medium thorns and very reddish-purple canes with a pale bloom on them that can be rubbed off with your fingers. I am very thankful for friends who love to take hikes. Watch over Irene for me, Lord!
I'm sure that will be the last winter rainbow this season! Not that upper Michigan will escape instantly into spring, but probably by the time I collect another set of pictures the change of seasons will be becoming very evident.
See Winter Rainbow I
See Letchworth and Gibsonville