Wednesday, October 14, 2020

It's Fall !

It's mid-fall, leaf-peeper time. If you're not familiar with the term, “leaf peeper” relates to the tourists who flock to a handful of states in the northern United States to see the colors of the tree leaves in the fall. Sugar and red maples are the trees that are the primary bringers of fall colors – orange, yellow and red.

Those species are joined by white ash; the sumacs; four species of birch; aspen, both bigtooth and quaking; and a host of other less common species. In some areas they're also joined by the many species of oaks, but the colors of oak leaves aren't normally as vibrant as those of the maples and birches.

Many of the tourists come for the grand vistas painted with reds, yellows and greens, others come to drive the quiet country roads and marvel at some of the individual trees. Me, in many ways I find the individual leaves, fungi, flowers, a feather or perhaps a single branch of a tree the most eye-pleasing of the fall colors.

In celebration of fall's riot of color, here's a sample of those smaller treats for the eyes –

Poison Ivy

Purple-stemmed Aster


Sugar Maple

Small White Aster


Sugar Maple

Honey Mushroom

Sugar Maple

Cinnamon Fern

Flowering Dogwood

Great Lobelia

Red Maple

Blue Jay Feather

Black Maple

Black Birch

Virginia Creeper

So, yes indeed, fall is a treat for the eyes before the drab days of November. Go forth and enjoy the season.


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

A Naturalist's Year - 3rd Quarter

The days were getting shorter and the days were getting hotter as the third quarter of the year began. By the time the third quarter ended the days had become noticeably shorter and, thankfully, cooler. At the beginning of this quarter the incidence of COVID-19 had diminished to a low level in Canada and many countries in Europe due to the steps they had taken to limit its spread; however, across much of this country the disease has been increasing dramatically and setting records. So H and I have continued to socially isolate, gone to stores only when absolutely necessary and stayed away from other people – but we haven’t stayed away from the natural world: its beauties and marvels and creatures.

Day by day photos from the year’s third quarter begin here –








This natural world we enjoy is a dynamic system yet it operates in a reasonably ordered manner, and we live in what we hope is an organized society. Just as in the natural world where species are interdependent, we humans are interdependent; we depend on others for things we cannot do ourselves, and they depend on us in the same way.

Unfortunately, wishful thinking has trumped science and common sense for those who think they should be free to do whatever they want, no matter how foolish. But freedom can go only as far as it impacts the freedom, or lives, of others. It’s many people’s attitude of  “I've got a right to ...” that has led them to act irresponsibly and help lead our country into the crisis, now turned into a catastrophe, in which the nation finds itself as the year’s third quarter ends.

COVID-19 has revealed the gap between what the United States has promised to its citizens and what it has delivered. Without wise leadership this land of ours has yielded to COVID-19. Wear a Mask!