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Giddy birch leaves dancing in golden mirth
Spicy warm resinous scent of the pines
Cicadas singing farewell to summer
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The wind is in the south today, a soft wind full of warmth, reminding me of my first ride of the season way back in March. The thermometer at the school on my way out of town reads 71º(!). We have a concert to attend this afternoon (more on that in the next post), so I'm in the saddle by 11 am, which is earlier than usual for a Sunday ride.
I decide to follow one of my usual routes, but in the reverse direction. This makes for an interesting change: it allows me to see views that are normally behind me, to climb hills I'm used to descending, and to descend grades I'm used to climbing. (A good way to stave off Alzheimer's, I tell myself.)
The countryside grows more beautiful each day, rather in the way that a loved one does when a trip draws near. Knowing the foliage will soon be gone, the trees and fields stripped bare, causes me to look at them with increasing fondness and a sense of impending separation.
Just at the edge of town, I stop to snap this birch tree. The leaves are spinning wildly in the wind, like so many tossing gold coins.
To the left and right of it are red oaks, vibrant with colour.
This house and barn, standing at the end of a residential street, are evidence of how the village has overlapped the farming community.
I think these are telephone poles lying in the woods just off the road. But whether retired, or waiting to be used, I don't know.
I must have passed dozens of these fuzzy little caterpillars crossing the road. Here's one that made it safely to the other side.
The wild asparagus has turned blazingly yellow...
...with here and there a bright red seed still hanging from the fronds.
I love the contrast of the various trees here, some with bare branches, some fall-coloured, the firs still fresh and green.
Another beautifully variegated clump of trees. (In fact most of today's pictures seem to be of trees. What can I say? I love trees.)
A thistle gone to seed...
...and here's the bug's eye view. Very sharp and spiny-looking.
Fluffy cattails against a backdrop of - what else - autumn trees.
I come over a rise and surprise two turkey buzzards enjoying a snack. One flies off, but the other stands still long enough for me to take its picture. (I try to avoid roadkill photos, but it's so rare that I catch a bird on camera I had to include this one.) The turkey buzzards are quite large, and their wingspan is truly impressive.
Moving on, literally and figuratively, I stop a few miles later to snap these tiny cheerful asters. The blossoms, each less than an inch wide, attract several small butterflies...
...which I do my best to capture on camera...
...although the wind, and their habit of fluttering, make it a bit difficult.
A tawny landscape.
Look at this delightful curve in the road. The gold-leaved birches beckon me onwards. "Come, see what's around the bend," they seem to say.
And what's around the bend is ... a peaceful stream. You can see a few walnuts still clinging to the branches of the tree in the foreground.
Nature is draping her patchwork quilt over the hillsides.
My favourite bend in the road...from the opposite direction.
I love this red oak flanked by baby birches.
Red oak again - look at those glorious leaves.
And more golden birches. We've come full circle.
One last close-up of glowing leaves against the deep blue sky, then it's time for me to head home.
A very good ride indeed, with the added pleasure of a concert ahead.
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