Late summer asters

Summer has begun its wind-down. The daylight hours are dwindling, the sun is lower in the sky, the leaves are drying, and some of the birds have already begun their journeys elsewhere. Our colors are starting their change to the deep reds and oranges of fall. So I set out in search of a “last” color of summer and found these Lindley’s asters blooming with their final hurrah, valiantly reaching up to the sun’s warmth. With our lowering night-time temperatures they too will soon be fading into fall’s colors.

A challenge completed

On December 19th I wrote that I had accepted a challenge for people to get outside for 30 minutes everyday for 101 days.  In that post I said that I can walk about two miles in 30 minutes, and so I challenged myself to do that, and to reach 400 walking miles for the entire year of 2021.  I’m happy to say that I did reach my 400-mile goal, before December 31st, and just today I’ve reached the goal of walking for 101 consecutive days, 2+ miles per day.

When I started the 101 days it was November 24, 2021 and we still had golden leaves on the ground, there was green lawns, and the sidewalks and paths were clear.  Within ten days the temperatures had dropped and there was snow on the ground.  Our winter continued into 2022, and today there is still snow covering the ground.  But I have enjoyed so many experiences on my walks.  I have walked during a light snowfall when the world seems magical and beautiful and the lights inside the houses are warm and glowing.  I’ve trudged through an overnight snowfall of almost five inches with the wind instantly blowing and drifting the snow over my footprints.  I’ve seen deer and I’ve heard wolves. I’ve listened to woodpeckers drilling and I’ve seen sparrows huddled in the brush trying to keep warm.  I have been out on sun-warmed days when everyone was smiling and so happy for any bit of warmth, and I’ve bundled myself up in multiple layers to protect from the wind and the cold.  I’ve watched the moon rise and the sun too.

I haven’t decided yet if I will continue to walk every day; I have already logged 143 miles this year. I’m sure I will walk for at least awhile as I know that being outside in nature is a balm to me amidst all the uncertainties and worries of today, tomorrow, and the future.  

Hiking into the heart of fall

The colors of fall have deepened as the month has progressed; from hints of color to a landscape flush from a painter’s splash of yellow, gold, orange, red, green, and even some pink.

Earlier this month I was hiking with another photographer friend through the woods. It was a gloriously warm autumn day and the sun had broken through the clouds an hour before. The leaves on the path were noisily crunching under our boots as we followed a winding trail past a lake and into the forest. We both stopped as we looked ahead to see a carpet of pink under the usual fall colors of yellow and orange. We learned that the mapleleaf viburnum can have this pink or rose color in the fall depending on the light exposure and the weather conditions. Neither of us recalled seeing anything like this before and we spent a good amount of time photographing and marveling at the delightful array that Mother Nature had placed before us.

The start of fall

Not only has fall officially started per the calendar, but we are starting to see the change of seasons all around us. I woke up to a cool but bright morning at the lake, with steam rising up off the surface. A couple of extra layers of clothing were needed as I launched my kayak into the water. The morning was quiet except for some wood ducks that I flushed in a small bay and the Canada geese that flew past me, honking as they made their way up the shoreline. The trees have just begun to change, and the reds and golds were beautiful, especially against the blue sky and blue lake. It was a perfect start to my day, and to the season of fall

The golden road

Our fall is changing rapidly.  What is lovely and colorful on one day is completely different two days later after heavy winds have caused the leaves to fall.  I was fortunate to find this lovely golden road one late afternoon.  The autumn colors were plentiful, and the road was littered with beautiful yellow leaves.  The next day was followed with heavy winds, and when I returned the trees had lost all their color and many of the leaves on the road had been scattered into the forest.  I was reminded of how important it is to stop and make the image when you see it because it is never the same the next time.