Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Indian Summer Idyll

It was short but sweet, this stretch of balmy weather, with soft warm air and an autumn sun pouring down its slanting golden light.  The forecasts call for blustery rain tomorrow, more bluster for Friday with maybe some snow, so I'm glad I dropped everything to spend the past few days outdoors, either on foot or afloat.  Monday's paddle on the Hudson was followed on Tuesday afternoon by a walk around Moreau Lake, its silvery water still as glass, reflecting the mountains and sky.

Although a thin cloud cover filled the sky by the time I reached the far shore of the lake,  the richly red blueberry bushes glowed as if lit by a light of their own.

Wouldn't they make a beautiful wallpaper pattern?

To complement that wallpaper, perhaps a sofa upholstered in green velvet the same shade as that on this fungus.

I don't know any other insect this beautiful baby blue color with such a fluffy little fanny.  This is the winged form of those Wooly Alder Aphids I found clustered on an alder twig along the river.

The sky was as blue as that aphid's back when I slipped my canoe into the Hudson today, entering the water behind a sheltering island, where the breeze that ruffled the open river never touched the glassy surface back here.

My little boat moved as silently as a snake, as I wound my way around rocky promontories and into the quiet coves that form the shoreline along this part of the river.

I found the same stand of coppery understory beeches I photographed some years ago, and try as I might, I could not reproduce that photograph (shown below).   The sunlight today created too many stark shadows, so I couldn't achieve the same diffuse glow of my original photo, which remains one of my very favorites.

I found these speckled Red Oak leaves enchanting, as they floated over sky-blue water and above some pretty little underwater plants with green leaves and tiny pink flowers.

What plant could this be, that blooms underwater?  It sure looks like some kind of Smartweed, but I don't know of any Smartweed species that flowers while actually submerged under several inches of water.  Water Smartweed blooms can be inundated in times of flood, but mostly their flowers protrude above the surface.  These were growing quite happily down under the water, and they were not evident in this cove during the summer.

This rocky promontory I call Picnic Point, since several of its boulders have nice flat surfaces for holding a picnic lunch.  Also, those two blazing red shrubs provide handfuls of juicy sweet blueberries during the summer.

I was curious to see if I could find the seed pods of Great St. Johnswort, a rather unusual flower that  grows on one of the islands along this stretch, and nowhere else that I know of.  Sure enough, there they were, right where I found the blooming flowers last summer.  The fat pods had split open already, so I'm guessing the seeds have been spilled.  Let's hope they find a congenial spot to sprout.  I did pick one pod that still had some tiny flecks inside, and I plan to give it to someone who might cultivate the seeds and perhaps increase the population of this beautiful and increasingly rare flower.  (To see a photo of this flower in bloom, click here to go to my post for July 25.)


Grampy said...

Wonderful photos. Makes one want to jump in a canoe and enjoy the view.

Carolyn H said...

Oh, your photos today are gorgeous. I think I like the one of the beeches lining the shore the best. Thanks for sharing!

rgh said...

Fantastic eye, great colors, didn't think there was
that much left.

Ellen Rathbone said...

OMG! That photo of the beeches just took my breath away! I want it framed on my wall!!!

Nice shot of the fuzz butt, too, by the way. :)

Caroline said...

My daughter is a textile artist, the second photo and the beeches would be perfect art quilts!

Wayne said...

Jackie, your prose is as poetically descriptive as your delightful photographs. I know how you feel about recapturing the the light in the scene with the beeches and reflections, but you do already have that memory on paper. I have taken dozens of somewhat similar images, and I am still waiting to find that magical combination of leaves at just the right stage, with the perfect light and water surface conditions that you have captured. Thanks for sharing.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Grampy, so nice to make your acquaintance. Thanks for stopping by. I'll bet if you came along with me in your canoe, you'd get some great bird photos, just like the ones on your blog "Goat Sass."

Thanks, Carolyn. I'd just been enjoying your gorgeous photo of a sunset on your blog "Roundtop Ruminations."

Hi rgh. Thanks for your kind comment. It's that time of autumn where we have to look carefully for color.

Hi Ellen, always good to hear from you. Folks can find out what Ellen's been up to out in Michigan by clicking on her name and finding her blog "An Adirondack Naturalist in Michigan."

Caroline, thanks for your comment. Your daughter would be welcome to use my photos as inspiration for her quilts, and I'd sure love to see what she did.

Wayne, I figured you'd understand my frustration. And coming from you, your comments are high praise indeed. I've seen your autumn photos, and they are breathtaking!