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.
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.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~