Thursday, May 21, 2009

I take this picture at least two days a week 32 weeks a year!'s the road leading out of Fern Valley and down towards Beech Sring Pond

This isn't a particularly good example but it is the one I took this morning. It's a difficult exposure because the sky and the distant trees are so bright but the foreground is dark. It would take a lot of time to do it right and I rarely spend more than a minute or so on any picture....there's just something about this view.

Roads, a lot of roads, used to look like this with overhanging trees and vegetation invading the travel space: Georgia Avenue north of Glenmont, Central Avenue, New Hampshire Avenue...and on and on. Now they're frightening 4-6-8 lane monstrosities, no doubt much safer than those narrow, winding, overgrown roads I recall so fondly. I remember many years ago, when I was younger, automobile rides were recreational activities. It's really no fun anymore: all business. I suppose it would be an unconscionable waste of fuel to drive for the pleasure of it even if it were possible! Still, there's something wonderful and exciting about a road.

I like exploring the flora of roadcuts. Roadcuts are those areas exposed when a road dips below grade. Sometimes they are constructed, artifacts of grading. Sometimes, on roads that began life unpaved, they are the residue of long term erosion, natural downcutting. Because they are usually steep they are always well drained which allows for the growth of a slightly different flora than what's present on the adjacent flatlands. I saw one of my favorite plants, Pitiopsis graminifolia on roadcuts from here to Alabama last year on collecting trips. And a Houstonia that I never identified to species.

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