I was descending the cellar steps last night when I saw a flash of orange in the beam of my flashlight. I stopped and returned the light to see this Cave Salamander engaging an insect in political discourse. I was surprised to see this beautiful amphibian out in the cold falling mist, but I’m quite naive.
Strolling through the woods with the neighborhood Master Naturalist, we crossed a small dry creek bed and she spotted this salamander hiding in the layers of an ancient vine that died during our recent extended drought.
Directly behind our house there is a spring that is the beginning of a small creek. Much of the water is captured in an 800 gallon storage tank built into the hillside in the 1940s. The overflow water from this concrete holding tank seeps into the ground and normally flows placidly out of the bottom of the hill. Theory has it that this spring, which has not gone dry in the past 100 years, is fed by an underground lake inside the mountain that forms our eastern border.
This gentle spring, home of happy salamanders and shy crawdads, becomes increasingly angry as rain falls. After the recent foot of rain fell, the spring voiced its indignant displeasure with an engraged roar that could be heard from a surprising distance. The photograph above displays the beauty of the spring, but not the anger.