Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Melty Snowy Saturday Ride, with Pictures and the Three Great Things

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Apples like berries on a bare-branched tree
Willows weeping gold from an ashen sky
Stately slow migration of sandhill cranes

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Much of Wednesday's snow still remained on the ground today, although the roads were clear. Daytime temps were in the 40s - just warm enough to keep up a continual slow melt which would add an icy dampness to the wind. The sky was fairly clear as I set out, but clouds were slowly gathering.

The road is looking rather Christmassy here, with snow beneath the pines.

And the marsh is decidedly chilly and unwelcoming. All the froggies are probably tucked up in the mud at the bottom, dreaming of damp warm spring.

There's snow in them thar fields!

I pass an apple tree in someone's yard. The branches are completely bare of leaves, but loaded down with bright-red fruit. I'd love to take a picture, but I'm hesitant as it's so close to the house. So I file the image away in my mind, and it becomes the first of the three great things about today's ride.

All the streams look wider today - the tall grasses on their banks tamped down by snow, and the streams themselves swollen with snowmelt.

Green grass peeking out from the white stuff.

This private dam sits behind a local bed and breakfast. The water was flowing quickly today.

Grapevines garland a barbed-wire fence, draped with effortless elegance by nature's expert hand.

Strange tracks on the roadside...

Ah. That would explain them. (Observe the silhouetted driver's perfect posture.)

A few cornfields here and there have yet to be harvested.

The last time I rode this way, the birches on the right formed a glowing golden avenue. But the glory has departed, and only the bare beauty of the branches remains.

Detail of an old fence post. As I took this picture, a perfect fusillade of shots rang out in the woods nearby. The local Nimrods are out in force - it's wild turkey and gamebird season. They're gearing up for the big one: gun season on deer, which opens next weekend.

I never noticed until this year how long the weeping willows hold on to their leaves.

A cat's cradle of power lines, with insulators strung like blue beads on the wires.

Snow on the alfalfa field. It's nice to see such a bright green amidst the gray-and-white world of approaching winter.

The road goes ever on and on ... and I must follow, if I can.

All the red oaks have turned leathery brown, and their dry leaves rustle in the wind.

A few miles on, I hear more rustling - this time in the grass at the side of the road. Passing the spot, I see movement under the hedge. I slow down, get out my camera, and turn back, hoping against hope that for once I'll get a decent bird photo. A ring-necked pheasant comes slowly down the slope and pauses at the edge of the road. I stop the bike and zoom in the camera, catching one blurry shot before he rockets across the road and away. A handsome fellow - I wish I could have gotten a closer and clearer picture.

Down this road lie the clumps of red-twig dogwood, still shining as brightly as ever. (Thanks for the ID, Ginnie!)

Another mile down, I hear birds calling. I look up to see sandhill cranes. Flock ...

... after flock ...

... after flock.

I've never seen so many at once. At least 150 pass over in stately formation, crying their soft and eerie cry. They fly on towards the south and west, and disappear into the setting sun ...

... which seems a fitting ending for this Saturday ride. Only two miles more, and then home and a hot shower. A good ride, though damp and chilly.

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  1. How lovely to travel with you in that wintry world. And all those cranes flying over ... colder weather coming methinks!

  2. Today was warm and sunny, so unlike your weather. I am glad that I was here and not there, though I suspect that we shall have similar weather soon enough.

  3. What a cracking tractor sign. So much prettier than the plain ones here.

    This is my first visit to your blog - thank you for your comment chez moi - so I have lots to read and learn about you. :)

  4. I love this post, and those cranes - wow!

  5. Ah, Sue, a feast for the eye, the ear, and the mind's eye and ear! (Is there a mind's ear? There must be, but no one mentions it. Thinking about your description of the gunfire, I can just hear it.) Beautiful and poetic. Thank you for sharing your ride!

  6. Gosh, you're not going to believe it has taken me all week to finish reading this! And I missed my train this morning, so I have a few shivering moments.

    I, too, love those crane shots. We get to enjoy that sight only two or three weekends each year, but only if we drive about 200 miles south. Your brilliant commentary, though, is what really makes this entire post. I cracked up when I read "perfect posture" and melted at grapevine elegance. And now I'm going to stop because my fingers are freezing!


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