Walktober 2016

img_5666As I head out on my walk through our woods and along our little river, the air is soft and warm, a perfect Indian Summer day in the upper 60sF (20C). A few soft clouds drift in a Wedgewood blue sky. There is a light breeze and occasional gusts tug at the orange and yellow leaves that lift and swirl, a golden rain of parting. Cherry tree leaves, all shed but the last ones that cling to the terminal end of every branch, flutter like golden pennants at a joust.

img_5860Backlit by the sun, blueberry leaves are carmine splashes against a gray and brown background.

Juncos twitter and titmice call a nasally ‘dee-dee-dee’ from the undergrowth with a sudden flutter of wings as I draw too close for their comfort. Flocks of white-throated sparrows whistle and call as they fervently seek seeds throughout the weedy undergrowth to fuel their journey southward.

img_5686As I reach the river and settle into an Andirondack chair that gives me a view up and downriver, I see a goldfinch cross the sky in its undulating flight, twittering with each swoop. Turkey vultures ride high upon thermals, executing lazy circles as they drift on the warm breeze.
img_5677Stalks of dried Joe-Pye weed, leaves a dark, chocolate-brown, rustle stiffly in the wind. Topped by clouds of soft-gray, fluffy seeds, they await a gust to carry them airborne to new horizons.

img_5656Lining the banks, rust and gold knotweed reflect in the rippled pools, along with shimmering patches of blue sky and wiggly, dark lines of locust tree trunks. Flames of sumac rise here and there above taupe-colored knotweed seed heads, a frothy sea recently frosted, its rampant growth arrested. I follow the repeated chipping of a brilliantly plumed male cardinal as he sails past and disappears into the thicket.

img_8134Crows caw and scold constantly, annoyed at the migrant, swirling vultures and the occasional hawk, which always elicits a battle cry and chase. This past week, flocks of Canada geese heralded their arrival at dusk to the cornfields across the hollow, skimming low over the house, poised with feet out, like planes with gear down for landing, ready to alight.

img_5750The air is pungent, redolent of spice and earthy decay. The landscape pauses at peak and moves on, heading towards dormancy. Maple, birch, cherry and ash have shed their raiment, pulled down by the wind. Oaks are coming on in russet and gold. Sycamores turn a yellow-tinged, rusty-brown; its coarse leaves rustle and litter the ground like discarded paper plates after a street fair. The colors of late autumn, after the flashy maples have passed, are subtler. They do not shout loudly, but quietly await recognition and appreciation. They are the wallflowers at the dance, yet they possess their own virtues.

Honeysuckle and rose briar are dark mounds tucked against the wooded edge while glowing, golden feathers of sumac leaves rise above them, looking like sloping palm trees on a tropical beach. Ash trees, shorn of leaves with only their petioles left behind to dry, remind me of tufts of sparse pine needles, which the last rays of the sun paint a soft, coral-pink.

A dozen or more crows come in to roost on the opposite hill. They wheel and caw, establishing kinship perhaps, alighting and arising again from the pine and oak that top the ridge, before finally settling in for the night.

img_8483Leave the human world behind

Let Nature call your name and

Hold you in Her cupped hands 

IMG_9091I’m joining Robin at Breezes at Dawn for her annual Walktober meme. Anyone who wants to share a seasonal walk is encouraged to join in by posting by Oct. 25. Click the link for details and to see where other folks have been walking.

About Eliza Waters

Gardener, writer, photographer, naturalist
This entry was posted in Field Notes, My Photos and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

57 Responses to Walktober 2016

  1. Pete Hillman says:

    Wonderful images, Eliza, and your walk is so beautifully described I am transported there!

  2. Alice Pratt says:

    Refreshing! A perfect combination of gorgeous photos & poetic narration. You have such a wonderful eye for beauty, Eliza!

  3. cindy knoke says:

    Love them all especially the fall leaves turning and the reflection shot!

  4. Jim Ruebush says:

    You’ve nicely captured the essence of your day. We have enjoyed similar scenes here in IA. Melanie and I packed an impromptu picnic at 4 and headed for the reservoir to watch for White Pelicans. None showed where we sat. We move to the area below the spillway and watched the water gushing out of the huge pipe that controls the level of the river. Then we sat to eat and talk. There were lots of turkey vultures circling. They use the rocks on the face of the dam every night as a perch. It is in the morning sun and gives them a good start to the day.

  5. Beautifully written and photographed. I felt that I was on the walk myself!

  6. omtatjuan3 says:

    Totally beautiful… Fall at its finest!

  7. aFrankAngle says:

    Indeed a beauty day. Your words are a wonderful companion for the images. Cheers to your collective work!

  8. MK says:

    What a nice walk you’ve taken us on. I love the creek photo and also those last 2 photos!

  9. What a lovely, lyrical essay! I felt like I was right there with you–a beautiful respite.

  10. Jane Lurie says:

    Wonderful post, Eliza. Your images tell your story and the details of what we are seeing are terrific. I felt like I was walking by your side. 🙂

  11. Anne says:

    I have read this more than once – you use a lovely turn of phrase: such a wonderful description of a beautiful experience.

  12. Kris P says:

    Your property really is a paradise, Eliza, a delight for the ears as well as the eyes!

  13. Dymoon says:

    thank you so much for sharing.. I loved it.

  14. Truly wonderful and beautiful.

  15. Beautiful walk and great prose!

  16. Chloris says:

    A beautiful, atmospheric autumnal post Eliza and wonderful photos.

  17. Beautifully described, photographed, and laid out

  18. Val Boyko says:

    Glorious Eliza!! Images and words transport me to this enchanted walk. 💕

  19. Kathy Sturr says:

    Fantastic images you conjure up with your words Eliza. I was a bit surprised by Juncos? I haven’t seen any here yet and the young RWBB males are still here emptying my feeders although a grackle sighting is rare. I love to watch the turkey vultures in CK and have a painting planned around them. I am happy you were able to spend time in beautiful nature – so good for the soul!

  20. Lovely photos. Fall is definitively my favourite season though I know winter is around the corner. The leaves are now falling fast here as we have had heavy rain and strong wind in the last few days…(Suzanne)

  21. Laurie Graves says:

    Lovely, evocative post and beautiful photos! I so enjoyed going on a walk with you.

  22. Steve says:

    Some great Autumn colour. The photo of the water is stunning

  23. Oh these colors… they are so fantastic. My fingers itch to use my camera also… can I come? 🙂 Your photo’s are all wonderful but I especially like the one with the reflection in the water, such beauty!

  24. I’m not sure which I like more, your photos or your imagery in words. If I could I would give it two likes!

  25. Cathy says:

    Beautiful words and images Eliza! A real pleasure to read!

  26. Brenda says:

    We have had swirly winds here the past few days, making for invigorating walks. Your sky looks like ours–scudding clouds, crows, vultures (and ravens). Lovely. Thanks for taking us along.

  27. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    Beautiful Eliza, both your words and photos.

  28. Alice Pratt says:

    “So many people go for walks with you, but no footsteps are left behind!”

  29. Lovely. Super pictures. Nice lines

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  31. Wow Eliza, this is such a wonderfully immersive photo essay. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience!

  32. Robin says:

    Oh, Eliza, this was a breathtaking walk, in words as well as images. I’m so glad I waited to come by since this was something I needed today. Thank you so much. 🙂
    I apologize for taking so long to join you on your walk. I’m unexpectedly traveling soon (family stuff) and getting things ready here put me behind in the Walktober event and all things blogging.

  33. bittster says:

    Thanks for taking us with you on your walkabout, you really captured the essence of the season and the photos are fantastic! I can almost smell that woodlandy scent of autumn that you describe.
    I wish I had a nice Adirondack chair along the river!

  34. Pingback: Walktober wanderings – breezes at dawn

  35. merrildsmith says:

    I’m here from Robin’s blog. This is such a beautiful post–both photos and your thoughtful, poetic descriptions. Thank you.

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