Autumn in Full Swing

img_4170The turning foliage this year is brilliant. Every day it seems to get brighter. This is one of the benefits of living here. Nature creates art. We are surrounded by beauty.

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Shelburne Farms

Took a walk at Shelburne Farms the other day. Ka-pow! The lake was roiled. The wind was up. The leaves flashed their colors. The gray clouds skipped across the sky.

Lake Champlain Surf

Lake Champlain Surf

Yesterday rain fell. The sky was dark. By late afternoon the sky was really dark. But then the sun broke through and the hills lit up. Eye candy.

img_4206Suddenly this will all be gone. The wind will rush in and strip the trees. The fields will turn from green to brown. Snow will fall. The world will be beautiful in a new way. But this, this is stunning. It calls for expletives and interjections and exclamations and acclamations. And sometimes all of them in one sentence.

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Autumn Around Here

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Driving back from the market yesterday morning I rounded the corner and was taken aback, as they used to say, by the beauty of the view. I saw my house across the field, the hill behind it lit up with autumn color. Early yesterday fog rolled out and clouds tossed around the sunlight and it was a stunner of a day.

I started off my morning a trip to Shelburne Pond to look for birds. I was rewarded with a new one for the year for my county list–five Ruddy Ducks were swimming and diving just out from shore. They are not common around here so it was a treat to watch them for a while. I saw some late Red-Winged Blackbirds and heard a Song Sparrow singing. I came home to hear Meadowlarks calling and chattering in our field. There were half a dozen of them, pausing on their way south.

I am fortunate to have an amazing view right from my house. I can watch the hills, this time of year, as the leaves turn yellow and red and orange as color makes its way down the hills. Soon I will be seeing snow on the summits and we will be thinking of skiing. I will seek out more migrating birds today at some point, get out there and enjoy these colors while they last. Halloween isn’t far off. By the time we carve up pumpkins and get some costumes ready and collect all that candy, these leaves will already be turning to dirt.

Hinesburg Foliage Report 13 October 2009

Here are a couple more photos from our vantage point. It seems to be stunning if you ask me. I woke this morning and ran in the rain. In the dark. It was surreal, mesmerizing, the rain drops white and spinning in my headlamp. It was the first morning I had to run with a light the whole time. I saw no foliage. Later, when we walked out to meet the bus, it was still raining, but the gray light on the colored hills was beautiful. It’s hard not to be mesmerized this time of year, and this one seems to be another good one. These photos are from yesterday afternoon.

The Hump in Fall

The Hump in Fall

What's Not to Like About This?

What's Not to Like About This?

Green and Yellow

Sunflower Finally Blooming

Sunflower Finally Blooming

Those were the colors of the morning–green and yellow.  Our one sunflower bloomed a couple of days ago and this morning it was big and bold as we walked out the meet the schoolbus. The seeds were old.  We got them, if I remember right, at a wedding. It was a nice touch for the wedding.  I wonder of the seeds handed out actually were planted.  There were a dozen seeds in the little brown envelope when I planted them at the end of June.  Only one grew.  It is, I have to admit, quite the flower.  My hope is that it will go to seed and we can plant the seeds next year.  As there are few sunflowers growing around here right now, however, I am not sure it will get pollinated.  I’ll find out if it has any seeds in a couple of weeks I suppose.

White Pine Needles

White Pine Needles

The other colorful item on this short walk was the pine needles.  The yellow ones are shedding and dropping to the grass, so we had yellow on green on the ground.  Of course, the trees themselves are decked out in green and yellow as well.  My son said this:  “I like it a lot better when the trees and green and yellow, not not just all green.”  It was rather striking this morning.   Perhaps it was the light–low clouds but the sun low as well–that made the colors stand out.  Fall is here, right on schedule.  With more colors to come.

First Snow

This morning was chilly.  It was a hard morning to get up.  The sky was gray and rain pattered against the windows, tossed by the north wind.  Leaves blew around the driveway or stuck to the side of the house.  It was dark when we needed to rise.  We all got up, however, and were eating our various breakfast items when we noticed it was snowing.

This was our first snow of the season.  We all had later schedules this morning so we had a family walk to the end of the driveway to meet the school bus.  The wind was strong and we were mostly dressed for the weather.  My wife likes to hang on to summer, so she wore a skirt and flip flops.  She did wear a knit hat with a hood, but she was a tad cold.

I carried an umbrella, which worked well on the way out.  The snow batted it as I held it over my shoulder.  On the way back to the house, however, the wind would have filled its bowl and sailed out of my hands if I held it the same way.  I carried it in front of me but gave up after a bit of semi-blind struggling and folded it up.

These first snows are some of the most beautiful.  They elate me with their gift of the change of seasons.  I always feel a sense of wonder and joy when the seasons change.  I anticipate all the things we have not done in months.  We will soon be carrying in wood and stoking the fire.  We will soon sled down our hill.  We will soon feel the contrast of warm home and cold outdoors.

They are also beautiful because the white snow covers the green grass and the remaining orange and red leaves.  The grass in the field stands tall with various browns and some lingering purple asters.  Once winter has settled in, the colors will be fewer and muted.  Gray will often predominate.  Today, however, the snow gave all the colors of fall new highlights.

The walk out to meet the school bus always offers a moment of reflection.  Today, as on so many other mornings, I had the chance to look around me.  I was with people I love, and realized, yet again, how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful place.  A beautiful day in a beautiful place with beautiful people.  Not a bad way to start the day.