I started this post nearly one month ago! What has happened to the time? This was June - perfect weather days with occaisional rain. These adorable little creatures are called Red Efts. They appear on the forest floor after rain, turning my morning walks with the dogs into a tiptoed dance as I try to avoid stepping on them.
I've seen them summer after summer, but did not know until now that what you see in this photo is but a stage in the life of a Eastern Spotted Salamander. At other times in its life, it lives in the water. It is born in the water and lives there in a larvae stage, with gills, for several years. Then it leaves the water and lives on the land for several more years as this bright red teenager. Finally, this flamboyant creature returns to a pond and turns a more camouflaged olive green. This little thing can live for 15 years!
For some reason I am delighted to have discovered this fascinating and unexpected life journey of this unassuming little creature who so bravely stands its ground on the damp leaves as the dogs and I clamber past. There truly is wonder all around us.
And now, nearly a month later, this photo can make me smile, feel the cool morning dampness and hear the quiet of that morning, even as I sit now in the nasty clamour of air conditioners in the middle of a heat wave.