Linda Grashoff's Photography Adventures

Return to the River

July 7, 2022

This past Sunday I drove to Schoepfle Garden for the first time in 2022. I was pretty sure the level of the Vermilion River would be low enough to allow me to cross over to the other shore. And it was. I found some goodies there, but the garden side was also rewarding.

1 When I reached this point on the path to the river, I realized that it didn’t matter how many “good” photographs I’d be able to take. It was just wonderful to be back.

2 Basking in the atmosphere of green, I saw these bits of orange.

3 I soon saw more of these turk’s cap lilies (Lilium superbum).

4 In case you missed it in the previous crop of the photograph, look at the dew clinging to the undersides of this blossom. Didn’t notice it at the time.

5 I could have taken many more photographs of turk’s cap lilies, but I stopped after this one.

6 Light shining through leaves turns the water green.

7 The large rock in the background of this photograph rises about four and a half feet above the surrounding terrain. When I started going to the river, in the 1990s, it was only about three feet above its surroundings. Back then river water had dug out only the merest of pools—just a hole, really—on this side of the rock rather than the expanse of water you see only part of here. There must be a name for this kind of pool. I thought it might be what the Australians call a billabong, but it’s not an oxbow lake. It’s a channel excavated by spring floods as water jumps over the rock. The Ausable River Association lists 10 kinds of river-related pools. I wonder if this is a scour pool. Maybe one of you knows what to call it.

8 I’ve learned what to call this kind of log, one that nurtures other plant life growing on it. It’s called a nurse log.

9 These roots belong to living trees along the river, so they aren’t nurse logs. They do, however, seem to be sheltering this young locust.

10 I wonder if this circular depression was left by an embedded rock that became dislodged and was rolled downstream by the spring ice flow.

11 Minnows race around the shallows.

12 The locals would call this odd stone a turtle stone. Geologists call it a septarian concretion, and the story of its formation has nothing to do with turtles. A 1986 academic article about septarian crack formation takes a deep dive.

13 Two kinds of concretions in the same day! This one was exposed (the surrounding shale erodes easily) since the last time I visited Schoepfle Garden. Prodding with my hiking stick proved this was no squishy thing. You might say it was hard as a rock.

14 This is the part of the shale shoreline where the concretion of #13 is embedded. I wanted to believe that the grooves in the shale are glacial grooves, but my resident scientist deflatingly told me they are the result of simple erosion.

15 Anyway, they’re interesting to photograph.

16 As I’ve said before, no trip to Schoepfle Garden would be complete without at least one photograph of a Leptothrix discophora film. Because of rain the previous day, the films were hard to come by, and when I did find them, they were the youngsters, like this one. Still, my heart pitter-pattered.

11 responses

  1. Extraordinary group of photos, Linda, especially #10. I would have been satisfied if that was the only shot I’d taken that day. Nice work.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 7, 2022 at 2:33 PM

    • Thank you, Ken. I’m glad you mentioned #10. It gives me a chance to call attention to a possibly related photograph that I took in 2002. At the top of this page is a page of pages called “Other Files.” Clink on it and then on “Missing Stone.” I don’t know that this is the same depression, but they’re both in the same general area. I thought I had lost that depression—and maybe I have, but maybe it’s the same one. I’ve been looking for it all these years and had concluded that the surrounding shale had eroded away, nullifying the depression. When I took Sunday’s photo, I didn’t see the “stem” part, but that could have flaked off. Will have to look harder the next time I cross over.

      Liked by 1 person

      July 7, 2022 at 4:51 PM

      • The similarities are remarkable. I think this type of shale has a propensity to wash away over time but I would think that it would be a greater period of time since your last visit. I’ll ask my Geologist friend (from the Museum) what he thinks. George is my go-to guy for everything Geological. If he doesn’t know it’s probably not knowable.

        Liked by 1 person

        July 7, 2022 at 5:36 PM

        • How wonderful to have a geologist friend. Might be almost as good as having a botanist spouse.


          July 7, 2022 at 8:26 PM

  2. Jag

    Wonderful series Linda!

    Liked by 1 person

    July 7, 2022 at 4:54 PM

  3. Those drops on the underside of the lily are a bonus.
    I like the term “septarian concretion.” We should all try and slip it into our conversations.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 7, 2022 at 7:37 PM

    • Glad you like the dew drops, Steve. It’s fun to see something in a photograph after I’ve taken it. . . . You mean something like this?: “Sorry I was late; the septarian concretion was particularly bad today.” Or, “You know, a little septarian concretion would solve that problem.” Or, “His septarian concretion aside, I found him rather charming.”

      Liked by 1 person

      July 7, 2022 at 8:23 PM

  4. What you say under photo #1 sums it all up well. Your pleasure is so evident in these photographs. Your Turk’s cap lilies are gorgeous – don’t you love the splashes of orange against all that green? I like seeing them in the distance, then gradually closer. Spectacular flowers! We have a far smaller version that’s also blooming now. It has none of the grandeur of these but it does create the same effect of surprise in the landscape. I like the digression into thinking about types of river pools. I don’t know anything about them, really, but I’ve read that salmon “excavate” pools in the shallow places to lay eggs. I was surprised to see a nurse log at S. Gardens…I’ve come to associate them so strongly with the PNW. They’re everywhere here. Yours has a nice garden growing on it. #10 is beautiful and may be my favorite here. The biggest surprise was that first concretion, wow. So cool!! Those may not be glacial grooves in #14 but who cares? They’re beautiful. I like the sort of casually straightforward way you photographed them, with enough water to show the context and with the leaf and sticks just where you found them. Nice reflection in #15, too. It’s funny to think of Leptothrix films as youngsters…that’s a nice one…I’m glad you found it. Thanks for an immersive walk.


    July 9, 2022 at 3:03 PM

  5. I’m always so happy to be out in nature; I don’t know why I don’t go there more often. These Turk’s cap lilies are not all that big—maybe about four inches wide. Tilapia make those nests in the water, too. I’ve seen them in Florida. When I went hunting on the internet to find a good link for nurse logs, just about everything i could find was about nurse logs in the northwest. You have shown us some spectacular nurse logs on your blog. I used to collect the turtle stones I found. After bringing home six of them over the years, I decided to only photograph the rest so that someone else might have the pleasure of finding them. (I probably shouldn’t have taken any of them , , ,) Thank you for writing, Lynn.


    July 16, 2022 at 8:42 PM

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