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  • Writer's pictureHilda Van Netten

In Praise of Slowness

Updated: Jul 16, 2023

The field below looks pretty unimpressive at first glance. This morning, we joined around 25 others at the Lone Pine Marsh Nature Preserve and found out that this field is far from unimpressive. Two experts from the Northumberland Land trust led us on a walk, looking especially for insect life.

We took our time. We walked slowly.

The Northumberland Land trust is working vigorously to preserve as much of Northumberland's impressive natural spaces ahead of land development that's creeping out from the GTA. The Lone Pine Marsh Nature Preserve was the first property in the trust's care. This year, they will complete negotiations on their 14th property! Each property has a volunteer steward who takes care of the land with the help of other volunteers.

There was so much to see. Like this beautiful grass growing alongside the marsh.

Wildflowers were in abundance.

It's interesting how community automatically happens in places like this. At first, many of us did not know each other.

But soon, someone would spot a beautiful butterfly or moth and someone else would identify it. Another would photograph it. Another would talk about whether this particular insect is endangered. And someone would ask, "Are you Dutch too?"

There is a really nice viewing platform that overlooks the marshy area.

Joe Pye Weeds were just opening up. Aren't they beautiful?

Some Queen Anne's lace had a pinkish tint on their edges.....

.... and milkweeds were everywhere. Everyone noticed the enchanting scent of the milkweeds, today's sponsor. If you have never smelled milkweed, go for a walk this week and find some. You will thank me.

One of the delightful people I met today was Marion. Not only did she walk and look and admire, she also bent over and picked dog-strangling vines along the way. I feel like painting her. So beautiful.

Dog-strangling vines are an invasive species and many volunteer hours have been spent getting rid of them.

Everyone had their eyes peeled for interesting insects.

Aha! A leaf miner. Isn't it cool how their paths never overlap?

Two tiny frogs were spotted: this spring peeper and another one which will remain nameless. Good spotting!

Cinquefoil flowers are so delicate. And, look at their hairy buds.

We saw a few of these black butterflies throughout our walk. This guy was resting sideways on a leaf and let me come fairly close when photographing it. It looks like it's wearing fancy shoes today. And, it's antennae look like they have bottle brushes on the ends.

By the time we were half way round I'd found out that this lady in blue is a friend of three of my friends. Nature and community.

Aha! Finally evidence of Monarchs.

How many other ones did we miss? It's not that they say, "Here I am!"

Marion's arms were getting filled with vines.

After an hour or so we crossed to the west side of the property.

Ted spotted this crab spider eating a bee. And, do you see the three flies helping out? I have no idea what those droplets of water? venom? are on each fly.

What a peaceful and informative morning. I hope that many generations to come will be able to enjoy this land like we did today.

And, there will be no dog-strangling vines.

I am reading "In Praise of Slowness" by Carl Honoré. I think that today 25 people went home from our walk praising slowness. I'll end with a quote from that book:

“The great benefit of slowing down is reclaiming the time and tranquility to make meaningful connections--

with people,

with culture,

with work,

with nature,

with our own bodies and minds”

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