Archive for May, 2010

What I’m Known For

This morning, fourteen year old Khaliya came over to get driving directions. I decided to print from the new laptop, so first I had to install the necessary printer drivers. As we waited, she told me about the new puppies her dog, Cinnamon, had recently.

Suddenly Khaliya gasped and said, “OH! Vicky! I forgot to tell you! I pulled a ‘you stunt’!”

“Really?” I asked and my mind raced. What “you stunt” could she be referring to?

“Yeah!” Khaliya said, “I was walking Cinnamon and she took a doodie in the street and I cleaned it up…and I thought, ‘This reminds me of Vicky Somma.'”

So cleaning up dog poop. That’s how I will be remembered on Hunter Street. 🙂

May 21, 2010 at 9:54 am 6 comments

Hungry Tree – Human Heads

Three years ago on John’s Creek Mountain Trail, I observed a large number of metal blazes being absorbed by their host trees:

Flashback to John’s Creek Mountain Blazes

The phenomenon is MUCH more amusing, however, when there is a little hiker on the metal blaze:


Credit: ????

(Hat Tip, Dave O!)

May 19, 2010 at 8:08 am 5 comments

Wedding – Meteorite Rings

The Rings
A large number of Google image searches were involved with our wedding ring decision. “Science rings”, “science bands”, “nature rings”, “tree rings”, “tree wedding bands”, yada yada yada. But it was a late night search on Etsy, not Google, that nudged us in the right direction.

We ended up with titanium rings with inlays of meteorite!


The striations present in both rings are known as “Widmanstätten pattern“– it’s unique to meteorites and caused by the temperature changes in their journey.

We purchased our rings from a company called Titanium-Buzz. The inlays are from a meteorite that was discovered in South Africa in 1838. The meteorite itself is estimated to be 4 billion years old.

Well before we started to search for actual rings and had any idea there was such a thing as a “meteorite ring”, Ryan already had some ideas for the ring ceremony. He wanted to embrace just how old and how far the elements that comprised our rings had traveled.

Your rings are circles and a circle is the symbol of the sun, the earth, the universe, of wholeness, perfection, peace and unity. It is forged from elements that were created by a supernova. This means that the metal in these rings has traveled billions of years through time and billions of light-years through space to be here on earth today. And now they will become a part of the both of you.

At the tender young age of 4 billion years, the meteorites in our rings are a “contemporary” example of that concept.

The Ceremony
During the ceremony, we did experience some difficulty with Ryan’s ring. It didn’t want to go on! After admiring Ryan Somma for nearly 17 years, I wasn’t about to be foiled by a little friction. I summoned some more umph to my effort and the ring found itself where it should be.

Such a victory should not go by without fanfare.

“ON!!!!” I declared and pointed at the defeated ring.

I was sufficiently intimidating. That small circle of titanium and meteorite hasn’t ventured off since. 🙂

May 17, 2010 at 9:55 am 8 comments

Tree on Tree Fail – R.I.P. Baby Pine

Trees choosing to grow on other trees don’t always have happy endings! Last year, Ryan and I ran into a baby pine growing on a dead tree hiking on Merchant Millpond’s Lassiter Trail:

Merchant's Millpond State Park - Baby Pine Grows Out of Hole
Baby Pine Growing – March 2009

We revisited it during my 35th Birthday Hike, roughly a year later. Alas, the baby pine had perished.

35th Birthday Hike - Vicky Laments Baby Pine  (by Ryan Somma)
Vicky Laments Baby Pine – March 2010

Farewell, Baby Pine. It was a good try! 🙂

May 14, 2010 at 5:00 am 3 comments

Tree on Tree Action

For Earth Day 2009, I did a blog post entitled “Recycling Bald Cypress Trees“. It shared a number of pictures ranging from little barnacles clinging to cypress knees to comfy looking goose nests to even trees growing on top of decaying stumps.

While kayaking two Saturdays ago, Ryan and I paddled upon another example. Here’s a tree we ran across as Newbegun Creek widened up into the Pasquotank River. It was right near the fancy schmancy residences off Orchard Dr.

Kayaking Sawmill Park - Tree on Tree Action (Marked Up) (By Ryan Somma)
Me By Bald Cypress Tree (Photo by Ryan Somma)

Take a closer look at the boxed section. That’s not part of the bald cypress tree growing up there! Nope– something else entirely has made a home at the apex of that curved branch:

Kayaking Sawmill Park - Tree on Tree Action (by Ryan Somma)
A Tree Growing on Another Tree (Photo by Ryan Somma)

Once again, I find myself impressed by the resiliency of nature and the remarkable venues it chooses to thrive.

P.S. Don’t by any means think this is a unique example! Richard Preston’s The Wild Trees describes impressive ecosystems found in the canopies of the giant redwoods.

May 13, 2010 at 9:12 am 2 comments

Heart in Nature: Knot in Newbegun Creek

Kayaking in Newbegun Creek a couple of weekends ago, Ryan and I stumbled upon this heart-shaped knot. Its appeal wasn’t limited to our eyes– some plants found it to be a rather nice home.

Saw Mill Park Kayaking - Heart Shaped Knot (by Ryan Somma)
Heart in Nature – Knot (Photo by Ryan Somma)

May 12, 2010 at 5:00 am 1 comment

Untitled in Humus and Root

Two Saturdays ago, Ryan and I took our recently acquired kayaks out to Elizabeth City’s Sawmill Park. We started our journey going upstream and explored Newbegun Creek.

As the passage narrowed, I came across a tree that had lost its balance in the swampy soil. The tree, of course, was completely fine. Not deterred in the least, it was still covered in leaves. It was the semi circle of uprooted earth that caught my eye. The tree roots braided around each other. Little opportunistic plants were taking advantage of the dry real estate to provide pockets of greenery. Meanwhile eroded soil permitted glimpses of the forest beyond.

I stopped rowing, admired the textures and intricacies and took it all in. The sensation struck me as familiar.


A Woman Takes in a Painting in Paris (Photo by lorda)

Saw Mill Park Kayaking - Vicky Looks at Stump (By Ryan Somma)
I Take In Roots in Newbegun Creek (Photo by Ryan Somma)

It felt very much like being in a gallery and absorbing all the details of a great painting. 🙂

May 11, 2010 at 8:57 am 3 comments

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