The canyon between the wet sandstone dill's is cool and quiet and damp. The sunlight now, long withheld from the bottom of the canyon because of the steep walls, at last slants down through the oaks on the hilltop to thrust through the last of the night's mists. The little stream makes noises around the wet stones. A water thrush teeters and steps from stone to stone and picks up insect morsels. And on the cliff-side, in a little cranny, a phoebe has built a new nest. The nest, snug under a ledge, is neatly upholstered with live green knight's plume moss and pale lichens. There are four white eggs in the nest, and the phoebe sits on them now, her eyed bright as the sunlight comes into the canyon.
Hydrophyllum appendiculatum Michx.
May. Ravines, woods.
Below her on the wet slopes the waterleaf flowers are in bloom. They are as pale blue as lake water, shallow-cupped bells with stamens purple-tipped, and are gathered in loose clusters on fine-hairy stems. The stems stand above the broad, five-parted thin leaves, leaves which are thin and watery in this canyon country of coolness and -hade and moisture. The waterleaf is in bloom, and the spiderwebs spun among them during the night glint now with illuminated drops of dew.
Then a web i- shattered by a quickly flashing wing as the phoebe dart- down and matches a flying moth just as it enters a waterleaf flower. The plant- quiver and the dew drops fall off, and the sunshine comes more splendidly into the canyon, to shine through the translucent, silky petal- of the lavender-blue flowers. It is mid-May. The phoebes are nesting. Waterleaf is in bloom and once again the year's pattern of flowers i- completed by one more species to fulfill the cycle of the year.