Down at my level, in blistering sunlight unrelieved by any hint of a breeze, butterflies dance; cabbage whites and purplish coppers. Grasshoppers lead me in a merry (for them) chase, some hopping, others darting here and there over the gumweed until they settle again, just out of sight. Bees hurry through the gumweed; so much to harvest, so little time! Something keeps up a constant, raspy chirp, more grasshoppers, probably.
From my ankles down, there is a bit of shade, a slightly cooler microclimate, full of busy life. I find a clear spot and sit on the moss. It is crispy and hot on top, but an inch below the surface, there is moisture and the roots are soft. Ants and spiders dash about between the stems of the plants; wild strawberry, fragrant yarrow, grasses, mini-clover and silver burweed.
There's one plant I don't recognize. It's hard to see clearly, short stems surrounded by leaves all tied up in white wool, hiding their shapes. There are no flowers.
|Wooly plants, in context.|
|The leaves are opposite, toothed, or maybe palmate. There may be a bud in the centre top.|
|Old leaves dry up and turn charcoal grey.|
|After a week of rain, they're leafier; green leaves covered with white wool. No flowers, no flower stalks.|
I've gone through every page in my guide, Googled and Googled and Googled again, thinking up new search terms. No luck.
Does anyone out there recognize these?
|The arrows point to the shore. The meadow is where the highway veers off from the shore.|