Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Scenes of the Season

If I needed a snowy scene for a Christmas card, I'd be out of luck.  No snow out there.  But I did find a few things that were Christmassy-pretty today as I prowled the mountainsides along the Hudson River near Spier Falls Road.

I often pull off the road by the dam, to explore the rocky cliffs that rise steeply up from the roadside there.  The niches and cracks and shelves in these cliffs support lovely gardens of mosses and lichens, watered by springs that seep down the rocks, which today were cold enough to turn that dripping water into cascading icicles.

Some of the mosses that grow there have put on their Christmas colors of red and green.

Nestled in among the moss were pretty rosettes of Early Saxifrage, next spring's flowerbuds tightly furled and tucked at the center of a ring of rosy ruffled leaves.

This Beech leaf was sealed to the face of the rocks by a thin sheet of ice that intensified its rich golden bronze.

Further along the road, a sprightly little waterfall tumbled down the mountain, its splashing waters reinvigorated by this past week's frequent rains.  I made my way into the woods at this point to follow the waterfall's course up the mountainside.

The splashing droplets created glistening icicles along every overhanging streamside branch.

This streamside boulder, covered with Greenshield Lichen, appears to have been decorated with frosted Christmas greenery.

Carpets of moss appeared as festive as patterned Christmas wrap.

Even this dead baby pine seemed to get into the spirit of the season when a sunbeam turned its normally dull-brown needles a startling red.

Normally, I truly hate Asiatic Bittersweet for its terrible habit of overwhelming native trees with its masses of strangling vines.  But who could not be struck with delight by the sight of these ruby orbs turned luminous as Christmas lights by a ray of late-day sun?


June said...

Your comment about the lichen made me remember, suddenly, myself at the farmhouse kitchen window admiring the brushstrokes that Jack Frost had put there. I knew it was he: my mother said so.

Jane said...

lovely, Mom, as always...

Ellen Rathbone said...

You got some wonderfully seasonal shots - I can feel the holidays even if there isn't any snow.

greentangle said...

Some very nice photos. I liked the beech leaf, and the focus in the last couple.