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I'm a woman entering "the third chapter" and fascinated by the journey.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Delights of a November afternoon

Warm weather keeps returning to Toledo, necessitating park rambles. Sunny November days with light jacket temperatures are not to be wasted indoors (even though my course projects have come along nicely).
There was a time when I found late autumn depressing. Nothing much is blooming, most of the trees have lost their leaves, and the dominant colors are generally variations of brown. I'm not sure how I managed for so long not to notice the colors of a field of little bluestem,
especially when the plants are backlit by afternoon sun.

It's easier to notice details of trees when the leaves are gone, like the nearly iridescent bark of some members of the genus Prunus.
Sycamores for me only come into their own when bark is their dominant feature. (Of course, sycamore fruit makes my eyes water, and the leaves take forever to break down, so I'm biased.)

This white oak is possibly the most magnificent tree at Wildwood,

but this young one and several of its friends were partnering with the breeze to drown out traffic noise.
Today was a good day for birds. The woodland edge of a prairie trail featured four bluejays squawking, and while I couldn't get a decent picture of the jays, I did get the bittersweet berries that had attracted them to hold still for a photograph. 
This was a good afternoon at the feeders, too. While the goldfinches have lost their breeding plumage and the fall migrants seem to have migrated south, there's nothing boring or depressing about our regulars. Today's visitors included this titmouse
and a nuthatch or two.
So maybe the flowers and butterflies are gone for a few months. There's still plenty to see.


David said...

Well, I'm glad you finally noticed! Little bluestem backlit by the sun I one of my favorite sights in an otherwise stark, nearly colorless time of year. I can never quite describe the color.

Another great one are the backlit leaves that the beech trees hold through the winter. Watch for them next time.

I planted some little bluestem...but hope to have a field full of it before too long. My plan is to plant beech among hemlock and or white pine with a field of little bluestem in the foreground. It is a great combinations of colors to brighten winter days.

Rebecca said...

Our little bluestem is spreading on its own (in some of the wrong places, of course, so I'll be transplanting it come spring). I first noticed its color against snow, but am pleased that snow isn't required for it to be gorgeous.