Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Among the Maples

What colour is October?*

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...

...and below.

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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  1. I am in awe of the beauty of those trees. I so love it when you take us with you on your travels!

    I think I am gonna make on of these my screen savers, they are just so beautiful. :)

  2. I love Wisconsin in October. There are so many different colors. I love walking and taking pictures too!

  3. It is such a privilege to visit your blog, Sue. Thank you for another fabulous post. Pumpkin orange predominates October for me, but I love the wonderful ambers, greens, browns, and reds of autumn. You have captured so many beautiful photos of fall. Thank you!
    Blessings to you and yours,
    Gracie xx

  4. Beautiful colours in your autumn-photoes!!
    My october has just turned out white! :-)

  5. October smells like earth, rocks and cut wood. And looks like gold and silver and amber with huge blue dome above it all :) The blues of October are incomparable with any other.

  6. My October is green, it is still green everywhere I look. Of course there is pumpkin orange, and a bit of black for bats and spiders. Your post was exceptionally beautiful today Sue.

  7. Mine is red and orange and gold and a bit of halloween black as well.
    What beautiful pictures. Thanks for taking us along.

  8. I want to take a walk IMMEDIATELY thanks to your post with beautiful photos! I love fall and everything about it. Thanks for taking me along on your walk; my walk must wait for another day :(

    1. PS: You are posting and crocheting faster than I can keep up! I love it tho'!

  9. What beautiful photos! If fall in the south has a color it's still green, but the light is different so the green is softer. Leaves won't change color (the few trees we have that lose their leaves) won't do so until almost winter.

  10. Oh Sue, this would have to be THE best Autumn/Fall post ever in the history of blogland surely.
    Love all your pics, the colours, shapes and textures, just soooooo beautiful and that cemetery, what a peaceful resting place......
    Love it all, will have to keep coming back to enjoy all your pics..........x

  11. Interestingly I have a similar response to yours when it comes to identifying colours with months, but the colours are different, reflecting I imagine the different places in which we live.

    Such wonderfully golden images Sue :)

  12. Hello Sue, What a very glorious walk in the woods you had with all the array of colors.. Love the old church... It is always lovely to stopped and see all what Mother Nature has for us to see. Hugs Judy

  13. My, what a beautiful October you have! The red leaves are stunning and captivating! And you have acorns! So many of ours (much, much smaller) are gobbled up by bears.

    I've been gathering red leaves here ( and yellow and brown) to see what color they might make. I bet I'd go nuts in your corner of the world!

  14. What a nice trip to be taken on! I love it.

  15. Beautiful colours all around, I especially like the ones looking up at the leaves against the gorgeous blue sky.


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