Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Walking into Autumn

Sunday is beautifully blue-skied and sunny, with a cool breeze blowing - perfect for the first day of Autumn.

As the year slowly dies, so does my cycling urge. Riding begins to feel like an obligation rather than a pleasure ... so I take a walk instead, and enjoy Nature at a footpace.

My path leads me past the marshy lake-around-the-corner, where grow these young ... ash trees? (Must work on my tree ID skills.) I like the pattern made by the overlapping leaves:


A monarch sips from the drying blossoms of wild cucumber:


Off the paved road and onto the trail, I can hear the soft thunk of walnuts falling. They're compact and heavy for their size - which is slightly smaller than that of a tennis ball - and I walk warily, hoping one won't land on my head.


Into the open field, where cloudy patches of a fine pinkish-red grass grow in drifts among the green:


Up close, you can see the tiny seeds at the end of each threadlike stem:


Bug's eye view:


Grasses of a different variety, slowly bleaching to a pale champagne:


A left turn across the field, where tiny posies of cheerful white asters grow:


Then through a bit of young wood to the prairie restoration project, which I haven't visited since last (gulp) winter:


(I hate to write the word "winter" right now. It sounds so, well, chilling.)

The path around the restored prairie is smoothly mown and thickly bordered by all kinds of fascinating dried grasses and plants.


Fun with colour inversion:


I fall in love with these tiny heraldic-looking seed pods of pumpkin-colour lined with bronze:


A bit of summer lingers on here:


Statutory bee-on-goldenrod shot (it's been a great year for bee photos):


Creeper rises up like a scarlet lily out of the dried grass:


All around me grasshoppers are jumping, each landing with a tiny click a few feet from where they started.

Another lovely aster, with petals curled like scrollwork:


Geese float on a nearby pond, chatting quietly of their travel plans:


I stop to take their picture, and the murmur becomes agitated.

"Don't look now," they tell each other, "but there's a human holding a death-ray machine. Try to act natural."

I turn away for a shot of the ubiquitous wild cucumber draped over a fallen tree, and...


"Now's our chance, boys!" shouts the Squadron Commander. "Fly for your lives!"

With a clatter of wings, they rise from the pond and burst out from the trees behind me...


...then away they fly, honking battle, murder, and sudden death.


(They'll be back before sundown, refreshed by their brief jaunt, trading stories of how they cunningly eluded the menacing human.)

I head down the street, pass again the marshy lake-around-the-corner, turn the corner itself, and I'm home.

A very pleasant walk on the first day of Autumn.

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40 comments:

  1. I'm glad you took a walk instead of a ride. We see so much more when we can go slower. We can smell so much more. And take so many more pictures!

    Oh, and walnut hills make good dye...

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    1. I KNOW they do ... I sat on one once (by mistake) and got a lovely deep-brown stain in the worst place you can get a brown stain....

      And yes, we see much more when we go slower.

      :)

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  2. I love this time of year. It's perfect for walking. I took a nice walk at a local state park the other day and saw similar scenes to this. Beautiful l!

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    1. It is pretty nice. We're having quite a decent Autumn so far, aren't we?

      Good to hear from you, Sarah! :)

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  3. Did you leave Tallulah home? Shame! But lovely photos.

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    1. Do you know, I can't remember if I took her or not .... terrible of me. Poor Tallulah!

      Thanks so much for commenting. :)

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  4. Beautiful pictures. I laughed when I read about the geese, smart animals :)
    Petra

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    1. Yes, very smart ... and very nervous too! :)

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  5. Such calming views and close ups... I wish I could walk there now... However summer seems leaving its brush strokes here and there...yet... but soon it'll say good bye again, till next year.

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    1. Thank you for your lovely comment - I wish I could write as well in another language as you do in English! :)

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  6. Just as you are putting your bike away for the season, we are getting ours out. Summer is so oppressive here, but the winter is just perfect for riding. Have a happy, happy autumn.

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    1. Thanks Dee! I hope Florida is cooling down nicely. :)

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  7. Those leaves look ash-like, but not the ash we have here.......so not really sure, and not a lot of help! I love all the grass and grass-seed photos, they are such pretty plants when you look properly. Juliex

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    1. Thanks Julie!

      I searched the Internet for quite a while but couldn't get a match for those leaves, so ash was my best guess. But who knows? :)

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  8. Enjoy Autumn Sue, your pics are lovely......the Monarch is stunning.
    Nice to swap the bike for Shanks pony and see things from a different perspective.

    Claire x

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    1. Very nice indeed ... as for the Monarch, I only wish I had a camera with a serious zoom lens for moments like that, as my little point and shoot can only do so much!

      Thanks Claire. :)

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  9. Lovely photos Those tiny seeds facinate me. I think my next move must take me out into 'the country' a bit. Not much to see around here.

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    1. Thanks Beth! I love the tiny grasses and their seed - this is probably the first time I've ever gotten any decent photos of them. :)

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  10. Great walk, love the photos. We walk every day, but usually just through our neighborhood where it's nice and shady. Now that it's starting to cool down we'll venture out further. We live near a river and I love to watch the changing seasons there and sometimes catch a glimpse of a dolphin,

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    1. Wow, a dolphin sounds almost exotic. Does the river communicate with a nearby ocean?

      Hope you enjoy your walks, both local and farther afield. :)

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  11. Your photos build such a beautiful picture of where you live. I always look forward to seeing them. It's so very different from here. Thanks so much for sharing.
    Rosie xx

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    1. Thanks Rosie! I too really enjoy seeing photos of other people's home territory. :)

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  12. Love your pictures, they are always so pretty and make me feel like I am right there with you.

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  13. Loved this post, Sue! That bumblebee is amazing! Happy trails to you!

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  14. Beautiful pictures! I walked with You! :)

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    1. Thank you so much - I think of my bloggy friends when I am out taking photos. Half the fun is in sharing them with all of you. :)

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  15. Sue, that first leafy shot is stunning. And the seed pod is so beautiful ... nature is so glorious even in death. Your rides and walks chronicle the circle of seasons so well ... have you ever thought of reaching back through your posts and drawing together material for a printed book of seasons?

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  16. We took a bike ride yesterday....I thought of Talulah .....
    Chicago fall is perfect for cycling!

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    1. Ooh, it sounds nice. I love Chicago - it's probably the nicest big city I've ever visited (except for London). :)

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  17. I miss Wisconsin in September, beautiful photos today my friend.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  18. What a lovely post!! I hope my cold, which is quite nasty, goes away soon and I can take a nice, long neighbourhood walk, too!

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    1. I hope you're feeling much better now ... and thank you! :)

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  19. Beautiful pictures and I laughed out loud whilst reading about the geese. They are so silly :)

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    1. Thanks Barbara! They are VERY silly - so scared of anything that walks by. :)

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  20. What an incredible gift you have given us in this post, Sue. I echo Annie's thought about compiling a book of your photos that you can sell. Your photos and narrative are worthy.
    Love with thanks,
    Gracie xx

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    1. Thank you so much, Gracie ... it's very humbling to hear this from not one, but two readers. I wouldn't know how to go about it, but thank you. :)

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