Autumn Splendor

Some years, an average snowpack leads to a warm, dry spring, then a long, hot summer that stretches into late September. When the days finally cool down and the night gets longer, the trees simply give up and lose their leaves. 

But not this year. In January and February, snow in the valley was measured in feet, and the cold air froze it in place. Spring brought plenty of rain to meld with the snow runoff, and the water just kept coming. Summer was hot, but the switch to fall was flipped in a timely manner. The trees are celebrating by putting on a show. They appear to be kissed by the sun or painted in broad strokes, starting with the top or outermost leaves and bleeding in toward the trunk. It is glorious. 

I took these photos on the 20th day of autumn. Since then, rain filled an entire day, and hard frost has seized the landscape. The leaves are starting to fall. Every glimpse, every day full of color feels like a blessing that will soon be lifted.

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The 13th Day of Autumn 

On my walk today, along the walking path that bisects a weedy field and slinks past the railroad tracks and office buildings, I found:

A flock of cedar waxwings chirping in a leafy tree, taking turns fluttering to an unruly juniper across the path, plucking a juniper berry, and returning to the group

A northern flicker keeping watch atop a telephone pole

A large squirrel playing peekaboo around a pole. It stopped at my eye level and we watched each other for a moment, I admiring its open face and alert eyes, it sizing me up as a potential threat. I hope it could tell that I only wanted to be friends.

A wall of red and green

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A rain of color

Peace within my soul