This morning I convinced Bhavna to take a walk with me along the Raritan and Canal Park Trail. The sun was out, the air was ... well cold, but I wanted to find some images for Frank's challenge keyword, "Growth".
We slid on a few layers of clothing and drove over to the park entrance just off Mapleton Road on the border with Princeton and Plainsboro. I fully expected to find nothing but leafless trees and my first image was just what I expected.
We walked along the inner trail closest to Carnegie Lake and talked about our youngest going off to college this fall, our future travel plans, life etc., while I kept an eye out for "growth". We passed a young Asian couple going the opposite way. The man wore a Michigan beanie hat and we spoke briefly. It was a gift from his brother in Michigan. I mentioned that I completed my master's degrees at the University of Michigan.
Bhavna and I walked past Harrison Street to Washington Street then turned around for the walk back.
We found the young couple still wandering near the water's edge. I heard what I thought was a bird so I approached them where they were standing. I was hoping I might get a photo of the bird.
They were tossing rocks onto the frozen water of the lake. The rocks bounced around making this very cool noise that sounded like a laser or chirping bird. The sound seemed to depend on the size of the stone and where he threw the rocks.
Underneath the ice, the water of the lake isn’t solid. The ice vibrates up and down, similar to a drumhead or cymbal vibrating after being struck. The lake amplifies the sound which we heard as chirping.
I found this video on YouTube showing what it sounds like. It's so cool!
Bhavna saw some holly shrubs so we stopped so I could take some photos. We continued on our way. That young couple must have walked past us because they were in front of us taking some of something in a thicket of fallen tree branches. They called out to me excitedly. They had discovered some interesting mushrooms growing on the fallen branches.
I had finally found the growth of photography I was seeking!
The mushrooms were growing in clusters and stuck out from the sides of the dead tree branches like little shelves. According to my research, these shelf mushrooms are a parasitic wood tree rotting group. However, the infected trees provide nesting sites for birds and squirrels. These rots attack the top of a tree, the heartwood inside, and the base of the stem. The tree stem often breaks as a result even though the tree is still alive. The mycelium, body of the fungus, decomposes chemicals in the tree cells.
After photographing our find we drove to the REI store to get some hiking shoes for me and Bhavna. In the past we have "hibernated" for the winter, staying inside to avoid the cold. I wanted to find ways past that to enjoy the outdoors even in winter. That means dressing in layers so we could take hikes in the Sourlands Mountains or along the D&R Canal towpath. Last month, I bought some clothing for this purpose.
I hope that being outside during winter, pushing past my discomfort and loathing of the lifeless grey of the skies and the tree line, will help me grow my photography skills.