Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Brown Season

Dreary and cold today, with enough of a wind to worm its way down under my scarf.  If I hadn't been starving for outdoor activity throughout this long holiday weekend, I might have refused my friend Sue's invitation to join her for a walk at Moreau Lake.  But once I set out along the shore of the lake, with the surrounding mountains reflected in the new thin ice that covered the back bay, I was awfully glad to be there.  We saw not another soul while we ambled the shore, except for a pair of Bufflehead ducks that kept their distance in a patch of open water, too far away for us to photograph them.

I think of this late-autumn time as the "brown season,"  when the flowering plants have long lost their colors and the snow has not yet covered the naked earth with brilliant white.  It takes a bit more of an effort, now, to notice the many beauties the earth still has to offer.  In the case of this fluffy bunch of Phragmites, I had to overcome my grudging distaste for its invasive habits to appreciate its soft loveliness.

Brown-on-brown is the prevalent coloration now, from palest ecru to cinnamon to tobacco-leaf to Moroccan leather.   These dainty asters growing along the oak-leaf-strewn beach were as pretty as Baby's Breath.

 Sue found a whole cluster of Earth Star fungi on the sandy shore, adding their cadaverous hues to the late-fall color scheme.

She also spotted this handsome group of gilled fungi, aged to a rich rusty brown.

The Shadblow twigs were tipped with pointed buds, bright-brown and edged with gold, as if Mother Nature had draped the branches with Christmas lights.

We did find a few splashes of brilliant color, such as these red-tipped Evening Primrose basal rosettes.

These Green-capped Jelly Clubs were a bit of a surprise, since this fungus usually prefers damp mossy spots instead of dry sandy beaches.  Sue noticed the greenish caps first, a bit shriveled with age, and we didn't see the bright yellow stalks until we brushed away the sand


June said...

Thanks. That was a pretty good try, but it all still looks gray-and-brown to me. I know it's "resting season," but honestly, I'd be just as happy staying in bed.

catharus said...

'Love that second-to-the-last shot of the forest floor!

Rattlesnake Cobble said...

Note on the "Shadblow photo: Shades have small buds and very fine twigs. I think it is a hickory, probably shagbark or pignut, but there are a couple others I can't rule out.
We love your blog. For my money it is the best blog on the net. It is a delightful bonus to see pictures of our friends from the Friday Night Botany Group.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Hey Rattlesnake Cobble, I sure do appreciate your comment about the tree buds (also your very kind comments about my blog). I probably should have placed something in the photo to provide scale, because these buds are actually quite small, and even more important, some of them had split to reveal a very downy interior, which is typical of Shadblow buds in late fall. I also know that this is a Shadblow tree, because I visit it each spring when it is full of lovely white early-blooming flowers.

Rattlesnake Cobble said...

Ok. I didn't grasp how close the buds were as opposed to the trunk. No need to detract from the photo with something to suggest scale. I should know better than question you, you are so thorough. Again thanks for your blog!