Tuesday, October 6, 2009

WAITING AND WATCHING

When I stepped outside this morning, it was chilly and damp, the sky thick with clouds and a feeling of rain in the air. Yet when I walked around the cottage and glanced at the sky, a barely waning Harvest Moon was just setting into the trees…and for a moment I thought the predicted rain might not materialize.
The river was quite in the dim light, even in the riffle—though maybe I'm so used to its murmur that I failed to hear it whispering over the rocks. Fog hung above the pools and swirled in the shadows. The bankside vegetation still looked mostly green, though now with a yellowish cast, as if summer's dose of chlorophyll in leaves and stems had finally gotten the message to cease and desist, and allow autumn to don its own warm hues.
From upstream came the honking of approaching geese—not migratory birds, but rather a few of the Canadas who often spend the night on one of the nearby ponds. The big birds passed directly overhead…and as I watched them cleave the air just above the tall sycamores, I noticed the sky had again been hidden behind a mottled scrim of clouds and fog.
I'd intended on making a foray afield to check on the seasonal progress and do a bit of photography at several locations a short drive from the cottage. The soft, flat light of such a day is especially good for photographing autumn leaf color, though I realize that may sound counterintuitive. Here along the river, there are practically no reds at the moment—not even on the usually blazing sumac or Virginia creeper; their leaves are either still green, or else sport various shades of yellow and orange.
I had to look long and hard to find anything red—and even those few I located were muted and not anything to compare with a showy swamp maple. Frankly, I'm not sure if it's just a slow season hereabouts for the bright colors to materialize with their knockout hues, or if if it's simply going to turn into one of those ho-hum years in which the show fizzles before it really begins. Only time will tell…
I was watching a handful of brown boxelder leaves drift slowly downstream when the first of the rain began. A drip here, a patter or two there, then a cold wet drop on the end of my nose. The thought of a cheery hearthfire sounded like a fine alternative for waiting out the morning and seeing what options the afternoon might deliver.
You can't hurry autumn any more than you can spring. The leaves will turn in their own time, just as the violets ignore all our advice and pleading as to when to bloom. Mankind, for all his bluster and meddling, has yet to tell a goose that it's time to head south, or a swamp maple that now's the moment to put on its bright scarlet cloak. The hummingbirds are long gone without our council. The groundhog has prepared his winter den and is busily fattening up for the season of cold he knows in his bones will soon enough arrive…and never once though of confirming this notion with anyone.
I like that. It gives me great comfort to know I'm not in charge—but merely allowed to stand and look…and marvel at all I witness.

20 comments:

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, let Nature take her own course, unrushed, in her own time. We can but stand and marvel. As gobsmacked witnesses.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Solitary…

I think that's one of the things I like most of all, my own insignificance in such matters.

("Gobsmacked? Nice!)

madcobug said...

Those are beautiful shots. I love the water shots. Not much color here in AL either. Some dogwoods are turning a tad red but not very much. Helen

Gail said...

HI GRIZZ-

Fog in the early morning is so pleasing to me. I Loved joining you along this misty walk with specks of color begging to be seen and sounds and sights of nature in flight and movement. Your pictures took me there and again, I saw what you saw, marveled at what you marveled, heard what you heard, felt what you felt, wondered in awe what you wondered. I SO Love our time together.

Love to you
Gail
peace.....

Wanda said...

I've been wondering about that too....is it a slow season or is going to just be a ho-hum season...although by the end of the day our front yard had taken on a little more color and a brisk wind brought down enough leaves to almost cover the ground. Either way it seems very peaceful out.

Jain said...

It's a lovely series of photos and a beautiful sentiment with which I agree.

Jenn Jilks said...

We were away five days and the colours are at their ebb. We just go with the flow!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Madcobug…

I love water shots too. I have to restrain myself to not run one with nearly every post. Not much color here yet, but maybe just not late enough. Usually I thing Oct. 15-22 is the peak.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

As a kid, teen, and young adult, I'd never guess I'd become a morning person—though I always loved early mornings. But I also liked staying up all night. Now, problem solved—I can't stay up past midnight without nodding off (more like 11:00 p.m.!) and no matter what time I go to bed, I'm awake at 5:45ish, though I often don't actually get up until a bit after 6:00 a.m. I love foggy mornings especially.

I'm glad you enjoyed the walk and photos. We'll do it again before long.

Take care…

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Wanda…

Your guess is as good as mine re. good color year or not. But like you, I'm getting a fain amount of leaves down from several trees. And there are just not many reds showing around here at all.

But slow or ho-hum…is just not our call.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jain…

Thank you, on both.

Are you see much color up your way?

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jenn…

That's all any of us can do, really. Nature—light, temperature, moisture or lack—puts the show on, and we just sit back and enjoy. And it really doesn't last all that long once it gets going.

Bernie said...

Hi Grizz, oh I saw some beautiful colors this weekend....today was cold, wet, windy and they are calling for snow flurries tomorrow. I think our Fall is just about finished as most of the leaves are now on the ground. Fall seemed to have arrived quickly and is leaving even quicker.
Love your photo's.......:-) Hugs

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bernie…

Well, the morning here is starting out cloudy, damp, and very, very windy—so I hope your scenario isn't a harbinger of how our fall is going to be over before it's begun. At the least, we're going to lose a lot of mostly still green leaves today.

I don't think anyone around here is prepared for snow flurries yet.

Jayne said...

Amen. Beautiful. Amen.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jayne…

Thank you.

(I was just commenting on your post when this comment from you arrived. Amazing.)

The Weaver of Grass said...

That is one of the good things about the seasons, Scribe - they teach us patience.
I cannot imagine ever having to stray far from your river bank in the search for subjects to photograph - even your leaves are stupendous - your river looks wonderful from the view you have today - can you take a shot again from that view when the leaves have turned and again when the trees are bare - I would be most interested to see the differences.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Weaver…

Nature, in general, teaches patience—from wildflowers to waterfowl, autumn leaves, harrumping frogs, and chirruping insects on a summer's night…all arrive in their time, their season, unmindful of our wants and wishes.

I often fear I take too many photos around the cottage and along "my" stretch of river. And I'm also surprised that I can find something new, or slightly different to photograph. I don't want my shots to look like the same tired old pictures, again and again. I hope they don't.

And I will take those shots for you—looking upriver, at the peak of the color (if there is a peak this year!) and another after the leaves have fallen.

Jain said...

Scribe, maples and ashes are showing some nice color along the Scioto in Marion, Delaware & Franklin counties. There's very little color in the yard, but then our species tend toward golds and yellows, not so dramatic.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jain…

I was out running around to hardware stores and lumber yards earlier today and saw several nice orangy-red sugar maples—the first really bright autumn trees of the season. I'll have to make some rounds with a camera tomorrow.