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It's a thundery Sunday afternoon. Earlier in the day, the rain fell in straight rods from air that could no longer contain the weight of its own moisture. Though the rain has stopped, the humidity is unrelieved as I take off for my ride.
I've been hoping for weeks to reprise last year's wildflower ride, but as the flowers are now past their peak in terms of variety, I've decided to just shoot what I can.
On the edge of a marsh a few miles out of town grow sunny drifts of heliopsis:
These cheery blossoms, known also as oxeye or false sunflower, light up the roadsides from mid to late summer.
Across the way is a cornfield edged with spotted knapweed, an invasive species with ravishingly pretty flowers:
The heavy air diffuses the sunlight, creating glare and making photography awkward. And the stinging insects seem to thrive on this weather, so whenever I stop I am thronged by hungry little buggers who sting right through my clothing. This is a good incentive to shoot and run (or in my case, shoot and ride).
Just up the road we find clouds of flowering spurge (with Bouncing Bet in the background):
And Bouncing Bet (with flowering spurge in the background):
Bouncing Bet is also known as Soapwort, but I think Bouncing Bet sounds much more fun. :)
Notice the camouflaged insect - it coordinates perfectly with the buds:
Clouds and corn:
I like this gate/fencepost:
A towering cumulus with thunder on its mind....
The cloud cover increases, bringing relief from the heat of the sun. Instead of being hot and sticky, the air is now cool and sticky - like riding through gazpacho.
Some miles later, my road leads into a shady wood. There's a silence here that is almost alien - a deep green quietude, not unfriendly, but watchful and waiting and everlastingly patient. It feels as though the trees might be thinking, "We were here before you came, and we'll be here long after you've gone."
Flowers grow in the shade of this wood. A lone columbine, relic of spring, holds up a single pale blossom. Brighter and bolder are the daylilies, still wet with the earlier rain:
This majestic bristly seedhead is about 7 inches long:
Some rather gorgeous dock:
White campion (I think), its seedhead looking like a fuzzy little melon:
A yellow flower I don't recognise, which turns out to be evening primrose:
Wild parsnip going to seed:
Don't the umbels look space-age and delightfully 60s-ish?
Around the bend, wild cucumber drapes some hidden plant below, climbing in fantastic shapes and scenting the air with a faint sweetness:
The cloud cover grows denser, and a few drops fall from the sky. Swallows dot telephone wires:
A new barn quilt for the collection (though really I suppose this is just a large shed):
Away down the road, a pair of turkeys cross, their young 'un lagging behind:
(The air was so thick, and the photo so fuzzy, I used the "pencil sketch" photo-editing option to make the turkeys more visible.)
The parent turkeys disappear quickly into the brush, but the little guy is just visible when I pass, so I snap his picture on the fly:
Some time later, the sun makes an effort to break through the clouds...
...and abruptly succeeds. When I've got less than two miles to go, the sky turns suddenly blue again:
A good finish to a sticky ride. I've collected a few insect bites, but the flower photos are worth it. :)
How's your weather?
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