HAPPY THANKSGIVING! As we head down the stretch into the Thanksgiving holiday, I pause to give thanks for the beauty that surrounds me. The rain has finally moved on, and we have been enjoying the warm glow of the sun again. It does make the rocks and water sparkle. I took this picture yesterday on Sanddune Beach. If you look carefully, you can see Donny on the rocks picking up cans and bottles and other debris. Not all of this floats on shore. Why aren't we more careful in disposing of these containers? I am thankful for Donny, and those who are more considerate.

I walked over to Sunset Lagoon and stopped to admire these jewel-like rose hips. They almost look like tree ornaments, and again, they seemed to glow in the afternoon rays. Here is a plant that continues to provide visual delights. In June, the pink fragrant flowers fairly danced in the wind against the lush green foliage. Now we have the fruit of that floral labor - food for the birds perhaps? Most of the foliage turns yellow in the fall, but now the prickly branches have been blown naked in the autumn winds. Considering the fact that these Rosa rugosa plants grow in the sand, they surely put on quite a show. I'm grateful for them - delights to the eye, and fragrant to the nose!

I was treated to a moth cocoon discovery this week! Now that most of the shrubs and trees have lost their leaves, it is a good time to look for moth cocoons that may be hanging exposed. Here is how the Promethea Moth lives through the winter. Its caterpillar has built a cozy cocoon inside a folded leaf where it will hang in rain, snow and ice. Once the shrub's leaves unfold, a moth will climb out and spread its wings to fly. These are beautiful moths, unique in that the male and female are quite different in appearance. (See the drawing below.) I looked around and found two other cocoons, so hopefully the male and female will emerge to mate and complete the cycle. It is not a good idea to remove these cocoons from their habitat. Once spring comes, I just have to remember to check daily to see if I can witness the completion of the cycle.

I have found these cocoons in Connecticut, often hanging from Spice Bush which I don't see growing here in Maine. This cocoon was hanging from a wild cherry shrub. So here is another activity to enjoy in the great outdoors....looking for moth cocoons. A Cecropia Moth also makes a large cocoon that may be visible on winter walks. It is not pendulent like this one, but is attached along the side of a branch. It is gray and papery, but serves the purpose of protecting a developing moth. Thanks, moths for sharing your secrets!

The resident beaver has been more visible these days. At around 4 in the afternoon, it can be seen cruising the Lily Pond. Occasionally, it gets wind of me and expresses its displeasure with a whack of its tail to pierce the silence. I have a feeling, this big rodent will be having to break a coating of ice as it emerges from its lodge. The temperatures are finally descending to more normal November readings. However, one of my friends saw a Blueberry shrub in bloom this week! Seasonal confusion! Again, I am thankful for all these small wonders, and for eyes to see them. Happy Thanksgiving. 11/21/06 In gratitude for my human friends too, Ronnie.