Sunshine warm with blessing, not burning
Goldfinches weaving a web of flight
Mosquitoes refreshingly absent
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
After a week of blisteringly hot and humid weather, the temperature swiftly dropped over the weekend into near-autumn. Skies cleared to a bright blue, the wind veered north for a refreshing two days, and suddenly we realised that summer's end was near.
For the nature lover, the approach of autumn is imbued with a sense of nostalgia. We look with fond eyes on familiar leaves and flowers as we do on loved ones who are about to leave on a long journey. Soon they will be gone; it will be months before we see them again, and their beauty seems suddenly very brief and very precious.
~ ~ ~
It's a beautiful Tuesday afternoon as I set out on Iris the vintage bike, with camera (and turtle) tucked into my jersey pockets. The sun is like a blessing on my back and the katydids are singing in the marsh.
Daisy fleabane still dots the roadside, busy with bees making honey while the sun shines:
Clumps of helianthus stand about scattering sunshine:
And goldenrod is everywhere. (It's been blooming for a few weeks now, but I haven't wanted to admit it. Goldenrod means Autumn - and I'm not yet ready for Summer to end.)
Swallows look southward and think about the long flight to come:
Some of the cornfields are very dry already (we've been short on rain since July):
Clouds of tiny blue asters have appeared in the ditches, with blossoms about 3/4" across:
Very Large Thistles (perhaps Bull Thistles?) stand well over my height and hold up pale mauve blossoms against the blue sky:
The bees are busy here, too, sucking the last drops of summer sweetness:
Cow parsley has put on brown for autumn:
This cornfield still looks green and lush:
Back on the bike and around the corner to chase my own shadow up the road...
...and take my own photo:
(I like the road line reflections in my sunglasses.)
Some huge, unidentified piece of farm machinery rumbles down the road towards me...
...scattering hay as it goes. (A tractor with tedder attachment perhaps?)
Up hill and down, through sunshine and shade, around several corners, and heading back towards home. I spy some New England Aster peeking out of the trees to my right, and stop for a photo:
(These blossoms are larger - nearly 2" across - and more reddish-purple than the tiny blue asters of the previous photo.)
A few miles on, we pass a large thistle gone mostly to seed. Thistledown covers the ground, and Tallulah asks for a closer look.
"My friend Marigold says thistles taste great," she remarks. "But these are kind of dry and flavourless."
"Try a blossom," I suggest.
"Well? How does it taste?"
"Prickly!" says Tallulah. And sneezes.
One last shot of downy thistles against the blue, blue sky...
...and we head for home.
A very lovely ride - warm but not hot - and full of flowery end-of-summer joy.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~