There is something about September that warms my heart. Things quiet down, and there is more time to absorb seasonal changes. I've even had time to enjoy some beautiful sunrises. Here you see one taken from our property overlooking the Kennebec River. Those are heron ornaments that turn and dive in the breezes, and a red lobster buoy in front. Phlox is still blooming, but not much else.

I've been back to the campground which is now well occupied with Waldorf School students from as far away as Chicago and Toronto. One gal from Canada had never before been to the United States! She is originally from Iran and came to Canada for educational purposes. Waldorf schools attract a rare assortment of students and teachers. It is always a joy to be apart of their studies along the shoreline. The weather has benefited these campers, though today it was colder and I saw many sporting warm hats to offset the chilly breezes. Today, their "main lesson" in the Kelp Shed was Arthropods. As an example, groups of students were given a live lobster to observe and draw. There were squeals when they picked up one of these animals and they kicked open their tails as if to shoot away. How many of us examine the many attributes of these lobsters before pulling them apart in search of their choice tasting meat? Are they male or female? Do they have all their legs? Do their eyes move? Where is their mouth? Yesterday, their study focused on worms from the mudflat, and tomorrow the spiny creatures will be the focus of their attention.

We've been doing an inventory of the tide pool and shoreline creatures. As I share their hunts, I am well aware of how recent storms have rolled the rocks and changed the features of tide pools. Sea Stars are harder to find, but amazingly, the Anemones have survived to wave their tentacles at passing food particles. Urchins have been ripped from their hiding places, often leaving spine-less skeletal remains. I find large Moon Snail shells, emptied of their contents. The crabs have survived and were numerous in yesterday's snorkel. I could have had enough for dinner! They were that big!

On my way back from the campground, I noticed a Raccoon roadkill and stopped to examine that beautiful animal. Its markings are so distinctive with the stripes on its tail and black eye patches. What is the significance of these markings? To me, they make the animal stand out and not blend in with their surroundings. Of course, they are primarily nocturnal when coloring may not be significant. I can't remember when I last picked up a Raccoon, but I brought it home with the bones in mind. I think this animal was heavier than the big lobster I picked up! Its encounter with a vehicle left no markings. In fact, I wondered it it might be still alive, but it remained in a bag in my car. Ahem. It reminds me of a friend who picked up a so-called dead deer only to have it wake up and starting romping in the back of her car!

As this week winds down, another group of Waldorf students will take over the campground. It looks like they will be dealing with wetter weather, unfortunately. By the way, it was 45 degrees this morning! 9/17/09 Ronnie, still exploring.