Yesterday afternoon in returning coolness I decided to walk to the blooming tamarisk along Vale Gulch westward, and saw several wonders. There are 3 or 4 six-inch fish in the pool under the highway bridge....they must have come from some dam overflow upstream, since this creek dries up completely in the summer. And.....a first sighting of something I've only read about.....a horsehair worm!!...a thing like a long very thin snake a foot long, eyeless as far as I could tell, writhing and contorting. It was not slimy or soft, but firm, almost hard in texture. (These things, amazingly, live most of their lives as parasites inside of crickets and other large insects, and crawl out of them into water, where they breed....another of the more gruesomely creative niches for life devised by nature!)
Beyond the tamarisk (which had all flower parts in sets of four and not five...a diagnostic among them....Tamarix parviflora....another of those infamous invasive exotics about which much debate rages. I for one wish there were some on our property...if for nothing else than to burn and feed to goats!) I went on along the creek, with the tall cliff opposite. I got the sense that nobody had been there in a long time, even though I've seen the neighbors' dogs over there from time to time. Such amazing rocks in the creek bed! I filled my pockets, and stacked up several more too large to get without a bucket to fetch later. So many are metamorphic of a sort....one kind of rock cracked-sometimes in multiple directions- and then inlaid with a contrasting mineral...often white quartz. On a few of them the matrix rock is broken into chunks, offset from their original location, and the gaps infiltrated with quartz. In one, the whole had softened and the cracks had warped and curved. What unimaginable torments in the bowels of the earth took place to form these? Fracturing, then having molten quartz poured through, later fracturing again at another angle, or else shattering altogether and hardening again. Then again, the whole being heated to softening and then warping, twisting, folding.... Last of all, eroding into fragments and being polished smooth for how many millennia in this small creek, which only flows in the winter and only really rocks a few times a year?
The cliff is opposite me, and I saw a huge owl fly in and perch on a branch near the top. I could see where the layered clay had caved and fallen from time to time, and more pieces cracked and overhung and ready to fall. Fifty feet or more from the top, I see roots hanging out. The vastness and depth of time, the awe of the Earth impressed me as it hasn't in a while, busy with my subsistence. Animal tracks in the sandbars: canids, coons, maybe possums or skunks, turkeys, smaller things. Strange clouds slide across the sun.