Friday, October 24, 2008


There was this, a tiny incident from my years of exploring the forests:

I had spent a hot summer day hiking the trails of Hanging Rock State Park here in North Carolina. It's a rather strange place--a series of isolated mountain peaks known as the Sauratown Mountains, named after an extinct tribe of Indians who once lived among those summits. The area is quite pretty and striking, composed of ridges of hard quartzite caprock that has preserved the little high country, forming peaks that loom over the Piedmont and which form watersheds for rushing streams, tumbling waterfalls, and coves packed with lush forests.

Coming down from the tallest summits, I hiked to a waterfall. No one else was around and, since I was covered in sweat, I decided to take a shower in that cascade. After that, taking my camera, I waded into a small grotto below the falls. Looking to my right, on the wall at about head height, was a tiny, perfectly woven bird's nest decorated with green lichen. Inside that nest was a single, fragile, pale egg. I quickly snapped a couple of photographs of the nest and its contents and then scrambled away, leaving that palm-sized nursery and the occupant waiting for birth.

Taking only the image and the memory.


Mia Wolff said...

that's a beauty

HemlockMan said...

I never saw the bird. Of course I didn't hang around...I didn't want to disturb the creator. I suspect it may have been a hummingbird nest. I've heard that they decorate their nests with lichens. And the nest and egg were oh-so-tiny.