Seen and Unseen

By Terry Golson

It’s a cliché to say that life is a complex, intertwined web, but when you live in a place that looks like this, the cliché comes fully to life.


I’m a human with dull senses. The spotting scope that we have in our window helps, but still. Although some of the larger animals come within view, even they aren’t always obvious.

This doe passes through. Depending on how the sunlight streams, I might miss her. Sometimes she leaves her fawn in the grass. I only know that because I’ve seen the baby stand up and lie back down again. Yesterday a buck came by. His new antlers were covered in plush velvet.


Some of the land’s residents have made themselves more known. I’ve been watching two pairs of bonded geese. Mildred and Max had three babies, but the other couple, Hobble and Bobble (as far as I know) had none. One gosling has survived. The five graze on the lawn and strip the tall grasses of their seeds. Unlike the nuisance Canada Geese that you find on golf courses, these few are delightful and are welcome.

Being human, I focus on these big and obvious animals. I get excited when I spy a beaver swimming by, pulling a long branch. The golden eagle, an apex predator for sure, intimidates, even when perched high and still on a dead tree in the marsh.

Once in awhile I become aware of creatures that are usually out-of-sight. What is this squiggle on my path?


A baby ring-necked snake!

I know there’s far more than my eyes can take in. It’s noisy all around. Many smaller birds call and sing. The frogs sound a cacophony of croaks. And the insects! Who knows what’s going on in the grass, the leaf litter, and in the bark of the trees.

Once in awhile I get a glimpse of the abundance that fills all of the spaces in this landscape. Remember the Highlights Magazine game of finding the pictures within the picture? That’s what it’s like.

Sometimes, though, I can’t help but see.

This landed on my riding lawn mower.


I was able to get a closer photo before it flew off. Yes, it flies!


Dramatic. This beetle is far less imposing, but an absolute jewel of a creature.


Much of the front field is a blueberry barrens. The fruit is beginning to ripen. I’m sure that will bring foraging black bears.

But for every bear, there’s a hundred, a thousand, a million, smaller beings right there in front of me. I’m looking out for them.

What’s your favorite small and over-looked creature?

10 thoughts on “Seen and Unseen

  • Louise Hornor

    I love seeing the tiny fishes that dart under our boat and in the shallows. At dusk they come to the surface and we know they are there because their lips make rings on the water. When our underwater lights were working, sometimes we’d see hundreds, even thousands, swimming through the beams!

  • Robin

    I’m sad every time I see another commercial or housing development destroying a meadow. Some people only see an empty piece of unproductive land. I see it as teeming with life above and below ground, and as a vital part of the ecosystem.

    • Terry Golson Post author

      True meadows are indeed special environments. Even without commercial development, they’re transient. It’s going to be costly to keep ours open (the pine trees want to claim it) but we’ve hired someone to keep it clear.

  • Jan

    What a great blog, your new place must be wonderful to live in with so much going on. I love all creatures great and small, would appreciate less slugs and snails at this time of year when growing veggies, but everything deserves a place. My favorite are Honey and Bumble Bee’s they are not overlooked but they work so hard and are fascinating to watch especially when they go inside my Antirrhinum flowers. Keep the blogs coming loving them. 🙂

  • Daisy

    Turtle Hill is really a paradise with the different kingdoms sharing the space.

    For the last four years, I’ve been visited by a lovely shiny black flying *faerie* for I have no idea what this insect is (never seen it before and it keeps by itself) but it is a real beauty and very elegant in it’s flight. It comes *nesting* in the light fixture of the small terrace. Always arriving at the same period end of May-June and leaving in October. It is a true delight to see it come and go and always welcome to my Lair 🙂

    Thanks so much for sharing some of your beautiful environment. I am wondering if when Migration time comes, the flyers-by will come and visit with the family of Canada Geese gracing your territory… LOL ! À suivre…

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