Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Summery Day, Early Autumn

 Summer came back for a few balmy days.  We reopened the windows, unpacked the shorts and tees, and I took my canoe to the Hudson for the first time in many weeks.  With, first, the spring floods and then, the summer hurricanes filling the river with roiling mud and rampaging flotsam this year, I think I got out on the river fewer than a dozen times this summer.  But as these calm-water photos show, it was safe to go back on the water today, and I jumped at the chance.  What bliss it was, to glide across these glassy waters, the sun warm on my back, the water sweet and cool to my trailing fingers.

The autumn foliage color is quite late this year, with just a tinge in some of the beeches and maples.  But Black Tupelos always put on a brilliant show, starting as early as August.  By now, their lipstick-red and emerald-green glossy leaves are joined by blue-black berries on hot-pink stems.

Winterberry is also in full display now, with fat red berries that will cling to the branches long after the leaves have withered and dropped and the berries are capped with snow.

I was afraid that I'd missed the Closed Gentians.  Because they grow so low on the banks, just inches above the water,  I thought they might have been swept away by the late-summer floods.  But there they were, right where I've found them for years, some of the flowers a little bruised, but as radiantly blue as ever.

How amazing to still find Cardinal Flower blazing away on the banks!

In the woods where I walked to get down to the river, mushrooms were still as abundant as the mosquitoes.  Some were so beautiful, I just had to stop to enjoy their colors and shapes.

This charming little clump of mosses, lichen, and polypody also caught my eye and caused me to linger long enough to take a photo.  How I love these miniature gardens!

Heading home, I pulled over to the side of the road to gaze at this majestic thunderhead. A burgeoning mass of snowy white against that blue sky, it looked, at first, like a huge cauliflower until its upper reaches began to spread out to make the anvil shape so typical of this kind of cloud.

As I sit to post this blog about 9pm, the thunder is rumbling outside and rain has begun.  I'm glad I took the opportunity to enjoy this sunny, summery day in my little canoe.  It may be a while before I can do it again.


Anonymous said...

Serene, tranquil, but full of dramatic moments and vibrant colors. Just lovely!

Louise said...

Those first two pictures are just so inviting. They seem to draw you right inside the scene. I'm glad you got a chance to get out and about on these beautiful days. By the end of the week, the weather is supposed to be far different.

Ellen Rathbone said...

Just look at those crisp fall colors! Lovely, lovely.