Wednesday, December 13, 2017

This Tree

When we first moved to these woods this beech tree was half the size it is now. It stands watch near the path to the dock with long gray fingers spreading into the soil, resembling an elephant leg with slender toes.  This soldier fights for sun as it competes with several larger and older oak trees.  The beech hangs on to its bronze leaves far longer than the other trees and while it crackles like cellophane in the sharp fall winds, it hangs on tight to the leathery beauty well into winter.  The leaves are smooth and almost like sculptures or manmade works of art rather than living photosynthesis machines.

The gray, smooth bark is a favorite for people to carve initials proclaiming love for someone.  This permanently scars the tree, and I many times wonder if their love lasted a quarter of the life of the tree.  This tree is ours and is spared such mutilation.  There are better ways to sustain and prove love.

I am awed by the way it captures the autumn angle of the sun and turns a brilliant bronze.

Sunday, December 10, 2017


At first, there was some confusion. An earlier than planned departure to the city to avoid dangerous sleety roads resulted in moving over dry roads with fewer cars than normal. Waiting for dinner and a school play and the start of the predicted snowfall resulted in a cold but dry nighttime walk through the neighborhood to the nearby elementary school past the houses with bright holiday decorations. Greetings in the early morning on my laptop said: "Welcome, it is now snowing where you are." This all was very confusing as there were absolutely no white stars falling from the sky. We packed our overnight bags to head back home mid-morning just as small dots of dandruff danced down from the sky. Predictions kept saying 2-5 inches, and the further south we drove getting closer to home, the predictions finally began to come true.  

Because the roads were mostly dry we took a drive down some country roads before heading home.  I like the bones of abandoned homes and old tobacco barns outlined in newly fallen wet snow.

These black birds were on the country road eating something and flew up to the trees when we drove by.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Listening and Looking

Why can nature create chaos and the mess looks so perfect and peaceful and progressive?  It is as if I stumbled unto a waltz in perfect time.  Everything seems to be in the right place and it is certainly the right time and ready for the next whirling change.  We can learn so much from nature if we just stop and look and listen.

Thursday, November 30, 2017


Thought I would share photos I took of a few of the leaves that have left this past month.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A Long Season

This golden time of year has been gentle and ever so slow in our woods.  I usually blink and we go from brilliance to gray silhouettes and bruising cold winds.  We patiently wait for a winter snow that comes late and sometimes lasts only a day or two.

But this November is transitioning into an "Indian Summer" as December slides on in.  The earliest source of the expression according to the ubiquitous Wikipedia is from an essay written in the United States in the late 1770's, perhaps based on a Native American description of a warmer than usual hunting season.  With the warming of the planet, these Indian Summers will be even more common.  The angle of the sun turns the water that unusual turquoise blue that is most often seen in the high mountain lakes of Canada rather than the rivers of the Mid-Atlantic.  The green algae have sunk to the bottom and the sunlight filters pure.

Not many birds come to the feeders as the weather is warm and they need fewer calories.  I count birds for Cornell and my numbers are going to be small this fall.

I harvest an abundance of persimmons as I watch the oak leaves sail like golden-brown kites across the yard and glide to my feet.

The lawn has been covered in outdoor carpeting and I like it that way.  The first to arrive were the red maple leaves.

This was followed in a week or two by the leathery oak leaves creating a brown carpet in the backyard hiding the path to the dock under a crunchy sound alarm, making it impossible to sneak up on the waterfowl for photos.

No complaints on my part.  All is well in the season of autumn.  I can be patient.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

That Time of Year

We are easing into that time of year for the fall and winter holidays. Strenuous for some and a celebration of joy for others. I have little work to do this year other than shop for gifts. Thanksgiving is being done mostly by others.  My expectations are low which is a peaceful place to be.  So, I am going to go to my happy place and enjoy the wonderful fall weather we are having and select a blessing each time I snap the shutter.

I am blessed to have the time to follow the birds and plants and their changes on this land as they head down for a long winter's sleep or at the very least slowing down.

I am blessed that the rain this year has come at all the right times and pretty much in the right amounts.

I am blessed to be where I am and still be able to reach the river down the small hill when I want.  I am blessed to still be able to get in and out of a canoe.

I am blessed to have these giant oak trees as friends that put on such a show throughout the year.

And I am blessed to have to rare hawk stop buy to shop for food.  Have a peaceful and healthy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Just a Tree

When I bought and planted this sugar maple tree, I was told that the climate warming changes to my state meant that the tree would really struggle as the winters became less lengthy...and perhaps less cold.  I was told this was not the place to plant such a northern tree.  I did not care because I just love how this pioneer catches fire each and every fall never failing to warm my soul.

Please note that the colors in these photos are what the camera was able to capture with no color boost!