Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Season Winds Down on the River

Today's bright sunny morning turned dark and cloudy before noon, and I almost chucked my plans for a paddle on the Hudson. Then I checked the forecast and saw that the rest of the week would bring rain and cold, maybe even SNOW! Boy, I better get out on that river while I can! And you know what? The river was lovely! Very little wind, and the sun even shone through the clouds a bit now and then. It was such a delight to move silently across that smooth water, visiting favorite coves, surprising a few waterfowl, just breathing the sweet cool air of the late-autumn day.

Even though the trees are mostly bare now (not counting the oaks, which hold their brown leaves through much of the winter), there was still much beauty to find along the banks. Here are some examples of what I saw.

Witch Hazel unfurls its yellow ribbons against the dark backdrop of the woods.

Bright Winterberry will hold its pretty fruits well into the winter.

The ripples from my passing canoe set the reflections ashimmer.

The bronze leaves of baby beeches contrast with the dark stark verticals of taller trees' trunks.

Meadowsweet clumps brighten the banks with their vivid yellow-orange leaves.

I didn't expect to encounter any other paddlers today, but who should I meet but my friend and fellow nature nut Laurie? She was out with another friend who also lives nearby. Of course, being girls, we had to stop and gab a while, comparing notes about what we'd all seen along the river. While visiting with Laurie, I noticed a single bright-yellow tree in a sea of brown oaks on the mountainside across the river. Do you see it over there?

Here's a zoom shot of it.

It's kind of sad to think that the next time I visit the river, these russet banks may be dusted with snow. But then, each season has its own beauty and fascination. Soon the Frostweed will be curling its frozen-sap ribbons, and the animals' tracks will reveal their adventures in new-fallen snow. But I hope I can still get a few more paddles in before ice forms at the edge of the river. That's when the boat goes into the basement, and the snowshoes come down from the attic.


Allan Stellar said...

Gee that summer sure did go quickly...seems like only yesterday you were dipping your paddles in the water for the first time.

suep said...

Oh, so beautiful ! that area of the river does cast a spell - for those willing to be entranced.
I'm sure we can rig up an ice-breaker attachment to the Hornbeck for you, so you can extend your paddling season.

Ellen Rathbone said...

You sure got some great autumn shots, Jackie!

When do you break out the dry suit and attach the ice-breakers? :)

squirrel said...

Your photos were fantastic! I can't wait to see what you do this winter.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Dear friends, I do so appreciate your kind comments. Thanks for stopping by. That part of the Hudson River is so beautiful, anyone's photos would have to turn out well. You just can't miss when nature arranges the elements so spectacularly. And in every season.

Bird said...

These pictures are stunning - how lucky you are to be able to explore as you do, and it kind of comes across that you know that :) Your love of the river is infectious.