Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Blustery Ride and the Three Great Things

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Deep-toned song of the wind in the woods
Trees standing naked and unashamed
Woolly bears taking fuzzy chances

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The week began with warm weather, turned to rain, and ended with WIND. Cold, rushing wind - the kind that makes your eyes water and your front wheel wobble - 15-20 miles per hour and gusting up to 32. (Yesterday and Friday it was worse.)

On the bright side, the sky was a deep clear blue and the air fairly sparkled. In a strange way it almost looked like spring today; most of the vibrant colour has gone from the trees (dried up by last week's warm weather and blown away by the high winds) but there's quite a bit of green left. The frost two weeks ago was patchier than I thought.

I pass the small pumpkin field just outside town. (The pumpkins are wondering why they haven't yet been picked.)

The wind makes a terrific noise in the trees, sighing and moaning and whooshing its way across the countryside.

A very picturesque barn with cupola...

...and a little farther on, painterly clouds over acres of golden corn.

I go a bit out of my way to get this shot of corn shocks at an Amish farm - a glimpse into farming past. You can see their tops blowing in the wind - and some of the other shocks have toppled.

The last time I came this way, only one of these windmills was visible. Now there's a rash of them marching across the countryside (the crane faintly seen in the background above is there to construct yet another). I can't help feeling that they look a bit sinister rising up above the trees and farms.

The roads are full of woolly bears again today. I did a bit of research, and found that the woolly bear is the larva stage of the Isabella Tiger Moth. According to Wikipedia, it emerges from the egg in the fall and overwinters as a caterpillar (protecting itself from freezing by a cryoprotectant in its tissues). When spring arrives, it chows down on grass and weeds, pupates, and becomes an adult which lives through the summer.

The article did not explain why the woolly bears take life and fuzzy limb in hand by constantly crossing the road.

Shades of autumn.

I ride through a tunnel of trees and stop to snap these birches which escaped the patchy frost. I have a great weakness for those tall white trunks and fresh green leaves against a deep blue sky.

Not all the leaves are green, however ... autumn's chill hand has touched a leaf here and there.

The fields round about are full of goldenrod gone to seed, looking like ghosts of the flowers they once were.

And a bit further on, I notice these blue-black berries. I don't know if that's a vine or a low bushy tree they're growing on - can anyone identify them?

Across from the berry-laden branches is a lovely stand of pines, with the sun shining through their close-serried ranks.

Up until now I've had a tailwind or crosswind, but it's time to turn back west and face the full force of the wind. These sumac leaves are in front of me as I reach the corner. (Notice that they're blowing to the left. I, of course, have to turn right.)

A shorn field with bright alfalfa behind it.

This tree has been bare all summer long. I've always admired its bone structure, so today I take its picture.

Hey, Anne, look what I found!

I love the look of these bright sumac berries. Somehow they make me think of Christmas.

A beautiful marshy corner, still with a few Queen Anne's Lace surviving in a little dell near its edge. (You can see them in the lower right of the picture.) Two weeks ago, I snapped a glorious gold-leaved maple leaning out over this water. Now its branches are bare, although there's still some autumn colour to be seen in the far background.

By now the wind is so bad I just want to get home. Riding into a 20-30 mph headwind is no joke. I decide I've taken enough pictures, but I can't resist getting the camera out for this self-portrait...

...and stopping to catch this red oak which is still flamingly beautiful. Somehow the leaves have managed to hang on through a week of wind and rain.

Next to the red oak, some bare branches hold an empty nest. Babies reared and gone, Mom and Dad have retired south for the cold season.

Finally back home, I'm greeted by these bright marigolds next to the front step. They're loving this weather and are still blooming profusely. May I be as lovely and cheerful in the autumn of my life.

A Very Blustery Ride. But still beautiful.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


  1. Beautiful pictures and words...I am reminded of summers with my grandparents in Montana and Washington.

  2. What a lovely ride you had. We call corn stacks like that 'stooks'. I've no idea of the berry but would be interested to find out. The windmills are all over the place here in England too, I rather like their elegance but they are so very tall.

  3. What year does the autumn of one's life begin if one were to live to be 100?

  4. Gorgeous pictures and words!!! As I read I felt I was there, too!! Pictures that are lovely on their own came to life with your words!!

  5. Gorgeous sights along this ride, and so thrilled you still have flaming red leaves! You have so many visions of autumn here. I'm always delighted by the number of views you present. When I'm on my bike, I often forget to take pictures!!!


I love comments! Speak on....