Natural Connections

The shiny shell of a gall moth puparium — only 2 mm in diameter — cracked open to reveal a mess of tiny parasitic wasp larvae who ate their host.

Summer in the Northwoods can feel like a painting — broad sweeps of green and blue provide the backdrop for highlights in all colors of the rainbow. Winter, though, can feel like a pen and ink sketch, where shapes, textures and patterns rule. I enjoy these shifts in perspective, since they can help me spot new things.

A little while ago I found myself in a weedy strip of vegetation between my friend’s driveway and a field. The colors of summer had all but drained from the thicket of goldenrod plants. Where once there were sunny yellow flowers tossing above a sea of green leaves, there now stood a sepia-toned jumble of fuzzy seed heads, crinkled leaves and leaning stems. In this winterized sketch, I scanned the lines, looking for a particular pattern.

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