Thursday, August 23, 2012

Late Summer, Lovely River

How many more of these perfect paddling days remain in this summer?  Family gatherings and weekends away have kept me off the Hudson most of this August, but today was a wonderful blue-sky day for remedying that lack.  And best of all, when I put my canoe in the river above the Sherman Island Dam, there wasn't another soul around to ripple that serene surface.

Except for this little group of Mallard hens paddling quietly amid the shimmering reflections.

The riverbanks were adorned with stunning juxtapositions of Cardinal Flower and Helenium.

Even underwater, the plants put on a beautiful display.

The angle of the sun was just right to set this patch of Cardinal Flower ablaze.

Against the dark shadows of the deep woods, these sprays of Goldenrod exploded like fireworks.

Tall Coneflower lifted its bright-yellow blossoms high above the other riverbank plants.

Is there really any time of year when Buttonbush is not arresting?  Although its tiny white trumpet-shaped flowers have long-ago dropped to the ground, the developing seed-heads now assume their own version of beautiful.  And those wonderfully symmetrical pods will remain on the bush well into the winter.

I was surprised to find these Elderberries still hanging in heavy clusters from their shrubs, uneaten as yet by the birds.  Perhaps they need a frost to temper their bitterness and make them more palatable -- athough I think they will fall off long before frost, since a shower of berries fell into my boat as I paddled beneath the boughs.

I was happy to find these snow-white berries, too, still clinging to their hot-pink pedicels.  I doubt they will stay there long, since Panicled Dogwood berries are an important food source for birds.

Ah, here they are, the flowers I was hoping to find!  Is there any blue more lovely than that of the Closed Gentian?  Especially when set off by a flower of complementary color, such as Helenium?

I found several clusters of gentians growing on the banks of a little island in the middle of the river.

This little clam shell seemed to glow in the dark waters next to the riverbank.

Somebody once told me that the fruits of Purple-flowering Raspberry were seedy and sour.  I think that person wanted to hoard them all to herself, because they really are tender and tasty, sweet and soft if you let them get perfectly ripe, which these were today.  I was grateful for their little gift of deliciousness.

Ah yes, the fall will soon be upon us, with September only a week and a day away.  But Black Tupelo doesn't wait until autumn to put on its dazzling display of ruby leaves.   Also, the trees that I passed by today always turn exceptionally early, since their trunks have all been girdled by beavers.  It amazes me that these trees still stand, still leaf out each summer, and even bear fruit.


Anonymous said...

Jackie, you are amazing! It hard to believe you get these stunningly beautiful shots with your camera!

June said...

The dogwood berries! I have been waiting for you to post a photo of them . . . I love to see them with their pretty red stems . . . but wasn't sure of what they were. :-)

Every photo here makes my heart and stomach twist. What a breathtaking world.

Ellen Rathbone said...

I have never seen buttonbush in that phase before! I will have to look for it.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Thanks, Anon., my little Canon S95 is a pocket-size wonder, that's for sure. Glad to know you enjoy the results.

Glad to be able to ID those dogwood berries for you, June. They make spectacular autumn bouquets, if you can get to them before the birds do. Thanks for your kind comments. Yes,we do live among marvels, if only we look and see.

Hi Ellen, I often think of you and the fun we had paddling together. I hope you find lots of buttonbush on Michigan rivers and lakes.