Saturday, May 16, 2009

Leaping Lizards, Salamanders and Newts: inspirations from the Pond

The spotted salamander ... inspiration for a character

Another week is about to rack up ... that will make 6 weeks here in the woods. A book is being fed into me as I be with the woods. Nature is full of herself, and with spring continuing to bust out all around me it is inevitable ... a story unfolds as well. A snippet of this book called WOOD CRAFTING sits on the sidebar ... to the right.

The glistening creature, the Spotted Salamander is one of the characters poppin' up in my story. It all starts very innocently, these seeds for the tale. One Sunday while Pete and I scurried about in Pellet and Turtle's kitchen, putting the bits and seasonings to our shared meal Pellet mentioned seeing a salamander crossing the road that runs along the pond. "Some of them don't make it across the road," Pellet said. Turtle contributed a story of a neighbor and her son, "They used to carry the salamanders across the road and take 'em to the lake." Hmm, I thought what a kind and helpful partnership. Days later my imagination and the seed of that bit had conjured a situation. I needed one more slice of information. "Pellet, " I asked. "What do salamanders look like?" My long ago memory of the mo'o kin (Moo = Hawaiian for lizard or more aptly, water serpent and goddess) was scant. Pellet said, "They're about this long (a thumb and forefinger stretched into an arch) with a big head. And when they're crossing the road they're orange with ... spots I think." That was just what I thought! Later that night Pellet found a picture that had been on his calendar all April, "A present," he said. I couldn't guess what it could be. It was salamander ... and the final piece I needed to stretch the tale.

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