Sunday, October 17, 2010
Sunday Afternoon in Heaven
Could I imagine a more heavenly way to spend an autumn afternoon? Bright sun, blue sky, brilliant foliage, a beautiful lake, and a great friend to enjoy it all with. Who needs to travel the world for adventure? I've got my nearby Moreau Lake State Park and my good friend Sue, who knows how to inch her way around the lake, taking hours to do so, finding treasures along our path and sharing them all with me.
And I shared my treasures with her. For example, I called her attention to how these acorns had caught in the crotch of a baby Shadblow shrub. Now wouldn't that cause a puzzled botanizer to pause? But Sue, with her far sharper eyes, was the one who spied this little spider hiding out in that acorn cap.
It was also Sue who first saw this tiny Garter Snake, slim as a pencil, quick as a whip, and almost the same color as the sand.
We both stopped to ponder a plant on the beach, finally deciding it must be the dreaded Purple Loosestrife and we thought about pulling it out. But then we discovered this tiny black and yellow caterpillar munching away on its leaves.
Then we found another and another and another. What a great find! We had heard that this plant is a nasty invasive because it has no natural enemies. Well, these little caterpillars sure were feasting away on these.
We continued on around the lake, rejoicing in the glorious autumn color.
Of course, we had to stop to take many photos.
Witch Hazel flowers were fully unfurled on this warm afternoon, releasing their faintly citrusy scent that reminds me of clean laundry dried in the sun.
The mitten-shaped leaves of little Sassafras trees had turned their distinctive orangey red.
We even found one Sassafras that still held on to its fruit, shiny blue-black berries resting in bright-pink cup-shaped pedicels.
On the beach near those Sassafras trees, Sue found this glossy Brown Owlet caterpillar clasping a goldenrod stalk. It's amazing to think that this brilliantly colorful caterpillar will later become a mousy little brown moth.
As the day grew late, the shadows lengthened across the path, and we quickened our steps toward home.
We still had half the way around the lake to go.