When I was a child, growing up in Southern California, October meant Halloween - and little else. (Oh, and my birthday too.) If you had asked me what colour October was, I would have answered "Orange and black."
But if you asked me that question now, my answer would be: "Red and gold and russet and green and blue - and sometimes silvery grey." Because those are the colours of a Wisconsin October.
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On Saturday, I took a short bike ride. The sun was warm, the wind was chill, and the maples were glorious in their Autumn dress:
Acorns of all sorts abound this year. Here is a particularly rosy example:
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On Sunday we took a drive to Durward's Glen, a retreat and conference center set in beautiful grounds which are open to the public.
We park the car and step out into the scent of pines; the ground is carpeted with peach-coloured needles.
To our right is the start of a hiking trail that leads into a forest of gold:
A hush lies over this place - a deep, pervading stillness that brings joy. (I feel as if I had walked into the forest of Lothlórien in Middle Earth.)
The tree canopy is beautiful beyond words: layer upon layer of gold, green, red, and bronze, backed by a sky of celestial blue:
All around are flocks of maple leaves, poised for flight:
There are miracles of beauty above...
The trail climbs and winds its way to the top of a rise, where sits a quiet cemetery:
A tiny chapel stands watch over those who sleep here:
Pine needles cover the ground here too, and lie in picturesque disorder on the sawn-off trunk of one of their own:
Even the mushrooms are golden:
We walk on carpets of tawny and scarlet and gold:
A small branch is covered with tiny, marvellous mosses:
The trail leads to the edge of the glen, through which flows a stream. Mr. M looks down to the water (keeping a careful hand on a large tree; very brave of him to look down at all considering his extreme vertigo):
The trail winds down abruptly (and rather roughly - we have to do a bit of clambering) to where layers of rock can be seen underlying the forest floor:
A weathered sign nearby gives geological details:
We're at the bottom of the glen now. A bridge leads over the stream and past the spring (marked by the stone arch in the right of the photo)...
...then the trail continues on the far side, up towards the conference buildings.
I fall in love with this sign and the charming stone building behind it:
(This appealing building is called the "Hermitage" and has served in the past as an artist's residence and an art gallery. Now it forms part of the conference center's lodgings.)
Turning back here, we re-cross the bridge and follow the lower fork of the trail, back into the glorious forest with its multi-coloured canopy.
Red and green oak leaves frame the deep yellow of maple:
The stream runs along beside us. Here a mossy stone is covered with grass that stands on end like a baby's hair:
Ferns on the forest floor are drying to pale amber:
The berries of False Solomon's Seal shine at our feet:
The trail takes us back to the car. Refreshed in body and spirit, we climb in, and soon we're heading down the road of Autumn towards home.
Looking back over this post, I see the words "gold" and "golden" everywhere. How else to describe this day, this time, those leaves? There really are no synonyms that will do. The word, like the metal, is so precious that it defies imitation.
A golden weekend among the maples.
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* Do you see the months in terms of colour? I do. January is definitely silver and white. April is the colour of labradorite - an evanescent pale grey shot with gleams of blue and green and lavender. May is a bright fresh green, dotted with pink and white and lilac. August is pale gold with darkish green, and September is russet. (I suspect that these colour-images are strongly influenced by what is going on in Nature during the month in question.) :)
What colour is your October?
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