In Western North Carolina the leaves are peaking, in many areas they are already past. I have visited this region several times during autumn and, without doubt, the colors are stunning. But now I live here and the eye, like a microscope, always rachets down one or two stops, looking for the intricacies, wanting to know more about the total picture. So today, a truly glorious day in WNC, I set out from my front door and quickly found the impetus of these thoughts. It is everywhere around me–the intricacies of life, the turning of the seasons. This maple leaf tells the tale–red, green, brown; cobwebs, mimicking the fabric of space, and insect-produced black holes, portending a deeper being; the red portion looking like a Google map of a subdivision, any subdivision; the brown giving promise to its ultimate future. “Everything is on its way to somewhere else,” George Malley. ❧
These guys are such frequent flyers at my birdfeeders. My Audubon Field Guide states the titmouse “are social birds and, especially in winter, join with small mixed flocks of chickadees, nuthatchers, kinglets, creeper, and the smaller woodpeckers.” Well, spot on Audubon! ! That perfectly describes my feeders just now. Mix in purple finches and cardinals and you have the Fawn Hill bird mix of the moment. I’ve been told that juncos will arrive but I remember in Washington, D.C. that the juncos arrived only when it was truly cold to the north. Perhaps the same is true here. ☙
Like Halloween caviar, the Carnival Candy Slime fungi brightens the base of a rotting tree in Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest. Carnival Candy Slime!!! Where do these mushroom specialists come up with these names?? Its Latin name is Arcyria denudata. I may not have it correctly identified and encourage any slime lovers out there to set me straight if I have the name wrong. A truly spectacular growth, whatever its name might be. ☙
A friend sent me an email today, via LinkedIn, and it said, “”you post wonderful photos! would you take one of your pets too please…” Well, I am more than happy to oblige. Here’s one of Tango from last spring. We’re at Myakka River State Park. My cat, Rainbow, wasn’t too keen on having a dog but she has warmed to Tango’s charm. He’s become her big brother and she’ll often look to him as if to ask “What’s up? Is it safe?” For those friends on Facebook you can find a lot more pictures of Tango in my Tango and friends photo album. There will be more of Tango and Rainbow as time progresses. I’ve decided to spend most of winter in N.C. and neither of them has experienced snow. That should be a real photo op! Will be in Florida for the Christmas holiday and I have a speaking engagement in Sarasota on January 2nd. So I’ll probably spend a month or so on the West Coast but then it is back to this magical place is the Nantahala Forest. I want to experience the seasons again and there is more but that will be shared another time.
According to the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms, “The Stalked Hairy Fairy Cup is one of a number of very small, beautiful cup fungi that are covered with hairs.” Enough said? This dainty life form lives on a tree at Wayah Bald, NC — 5,000 feet up, very exposed to extremes and very beautiful. ☙
It is definitely fall here in western North Carolina. The past few nights have brought frost and the arctic blast that is chilling bones in the midwest is on its way to our little corner of the world. This photo was taken two weeks ago up on the Blue Ridge Parkway. No doubt it has already changed significantly. Leaves are falling all around reminding us of the impermanence of life but also its renewal. They lay thick on the forest floor, making a rich mulch for the life that lays beneath the surface, waiting for the light to make its winter passage and return again in the spring. ☙