Thursday, February 9, 2012

The 'Capsule' Leaf.

A few weeks back, my family and I went for a nice break in the countryside.  We stayed in a great little cabin which was connected to the main 'camp' by a small forest which featured a fast flowing stream which we crossed over a little bridge.  It was so nice to just be able to stop, listen to the sound of the forest, and look closely at all the different plants and insects.

It is interesting how, in the city, the animals are wary of the humans and don't hang around for too long when we are about.  It is often difficult even to hear them...but it is a different story in the forest.  The forest is theirs and as soon as humans arrive, you can hear the birds all calling loudly to each other to announce that there are intruders.  They are quite bold and come close on the nearest branch to check you out and then fly back to their mates and report what they have seen.  I can just imagine what they are saying: 'Hey, I just saw the strangest birds...they are as big as a tree...and one of them has such a huge beak, if you can call it that.  It's the funniest thing I've ever seen...HAHAHAHA!!'.  Then there are the animals of the eight legged variety.  'Hey, Bob...let's wait 'til it's nearly dark, build a huge web right across that pathway, and then one of us will sit in the middle of it and see what happens when they walk through it...I feel like a good laugh!  Why don't you sit in the middle?'re bigger than me.'  You really get the feeling that you have walked into another world, and I love it.  My children love it too because everything is amazing to them.  They notice the smallest details, too.

In this beautiful forest were the most amazing ferns, I had never seen them before, and I am not sure what they are called or whether they are native to New Zealand...perhaps someone out there might know more...please let us know in the comments.  I have shown them in the image above.  On each leaf there are hundreds of tiny capsule-like bumps, and if you turn them over you can see that these hold small brown seeds.  If you run your finger along them you can feel an interesting texture, a bit like reading braille. 

My daughter was obsessed with collecting these leaves and we ended up with them all over our cabin, so one night I got out my sketchbook and drew one, which you can see in the image above.

Do you have any nature sketches/artwork you would like to share?  I'd love to see them!

Happy drawing!
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