writer traveler photographer

Writing Life #5

It will be six weeks tomorrow since I posted something. REALLY?

Yes, Sandra, really. In case you hadn’t noticed, time is not waiting for you.

Oh, really. Well. Umm. Golly. Gee.

Best put fingers to keyboard and come up with something brilliant, eh? Maybe tomorrow.

Meanwhile, look at this exquisite piece of art above. It’s about 8 in. long and 1 in. diameter. Have you any idea what created this? I do. Doug Strongman, retired prof and entomologist (bug expert) at St. Mary’s University gave me the lowdown.

First, some background. Several months ago my eyes were drawn to this small naked branch on the forest floor. Picking it up to get a closer look, I could see a bazillion small engravings up, down and around the stick. Reminded me of primitive art.

Doug says that it’s the work of pine bark beetles (Scolytidae), “Tiny cute beetles that eat the sugar-rich phloem and surface wood under the bark after the tree dies.” They are also known as “engraver” beetles and the result of their work is referred to as a “gallery.”

Now, I’ve become obsessed with finding these works of art on old logging roads and in the forests where we live.

And I’m clearly spending more time loafing about in the woods (or gazing at weird and wonderful pieces like this) than I am paying attention to my blog.

Maybe some words of wisdom will ooze out of my pores over the weekend. Or not.

Aha! Here’s another one.



  1. July 3, 2020    

    ‘Tis the time. We’ve all slowed down – we walk slower, breathe more deeply, and gaze longingly around us at a slower pace. I even think slower. I bought a new bicycle last month and took up riding (again) to attempt to re-build some strength and stamina after last winter’s bout with sepsis. I’ve discovered I like the quiet of my rides (once I get off the main drags) and the slower pace of cycling (I’m not setting any land speed records) lets me literally smell the roses and see things I’d otherwise miss. More wisdom another time, right?

    • July 3, 2020    

      Ahhh. Yes. Only I’m going to s l o w Ceci it feels like I’m in reverse. haha. Lovely to see you drop in. Enjoy your cycling!

  2. Ginny Boudreau Ginny Boudreau
    July 3, 2020    

    Can’t think of a better way to spend time than being in the woods inspired by new discoveries! Your specimens are indeed beautiful and worthy of fascination. Thanks for sharing. There’s much to celebrate about this slower pace, I think….

    • July 3, 2020    

      Thanks Ginny. These crazy bug pieces are so mesmerizing it’s hard to take my eyes off of them. Better’n a good book!

      • Bryn Harris Bryn Harris
        July 3, 2020    

        I didn’t think anything was better than a good book! 😀

        • July 3, 2020    

          Haha. Well, you have to see one of these pieces Brynn to fully appreciate how mesmerizing they can be. Come visit and I’ll give you one to take hom!

          • July 3, 2020    

            home! (not hom.) Fingers faster than brain.

  3. Joyce Glasner Joyce Glasner
    July 3, 2020    

    Wonderful piece Sandra! Looking forward to seeing more in the days to come!

    • July 3, 2020    

      Haha. You can tell Doug I’ve been singing his praises. And amassing a BIG hoard of sticks. And, sharing, of course.

  4. Heather MacLeod Heather MacLeod
    July 3, 2020    

    So cool, Sandra! I would never have learned this without your post and beautiful photos! Thanks

    • July 3, 2020    

      Isn’t this a hoot Heather? So … I will save one for you to take back IF and WHEN you can visit us again. I yearn to see you.

  5. Irene Gordon Irene Gordon
    July 3, 2020    

    They look great. Proper thing to be enjoying yourself in the good summer weather instead of working. I’ve been doing a lot of walking recently — both for exercise since I couldn’t go to either the gym or the pool and just to enjoy the wonderful places to walk in my home area.

    • July 3, 2020    

      Walking certainly is wonderful. I can’t imagine folks who live in areas that are not safe to walk, or who cannot walk around on their own for physical reasons. So. Happy that you are getting out and about Irene!

  6. Bryn Harris Bryn Harris
    July 3, 2020    

    I’ve wondered about those markings too, but hadn’t really registered that I was appreciating their artistic potential! Thanks for the post!

    • October 26, 2020    

      I just wrote a short essay about these pieces of “bug art” (Ips beetles they are). I’ll email to you!

  7. Sally Harris Sally Harris
    July 6, 2020    

    It truly is a work of art and I am now fascinated by it. Thanks for the wood show and tell

    • July 6, 2020    

      So happy to see you pop into view Sally! If and when you get back to Yarmouth, we’ll go fora walk in the woods out here in Canaan and you can find your own art piece to take back home!

  8. July 6, 2020    

    WOW! I’ll be on the p lookout for these works of art. Who knew? Always something new to learn, eh! AND it’s time I sat “bum on chair” fingers on keyboard, too. 🙂

    Higs, Rose- Marie

  9. July 6, 2020    

    WOW! I’ll be on the lookout for these works of art. Who knew? Always something new to learn, eh! AND it’s time I sat “bum on chair” fingers on keyboard, too. 🙂

    Hugs, Rose- Marie

  10. July 7, 2020    

    the images look so much larger than described.
    we have so many wonderful things that happen right under our noses and
    we miss them if someone doesn’t make us aware. Thank you .Look like totem poles

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