Early Autumn Colors

 

While this rusty glow might suggest sycamore leaves floating atop a clear-flowing stream, the reality that caught my eye at the San Bernard Wildlife Refuge on Saturday was quite different.

Strong sunlight penetrating the tangled bankside growth illuminated the underlying creek bed; a combination of natural soil color and decaying vegetation probably contributed to the mixture of seasonal colors. The shifting reflections were delightful, and the colors served as a cheering reminder that everything pumpkin doesn’t require a barista.

 

Comments always are welcome.

Floral Filigree

Not rain but dew gave this fading neighborhood rain lily (Zephyranthes chlorosolen) its unusual appearance.

I’ve often shown the brilliant white petals and sepals of these flowers in full bloom. While both can be tinged with pink, and while it isn’t unusual for the flowers to become a darker pink as they fade, in this instance the color suffused the entire flower in a way that seemed unusual.

Even more remarkably, the transparency created by the dewdrops and the patterns that emerged because of them reminded me of the finely-drawn gold filigree work that typifies much West African jewelry.

They also reminded me of this favorite poem from W.S. Merwin, who understood that not all jewels can be found in a shop.

Now in the blessed days of more and less
when the news about time is that each day
there is less of it I know none of that
as I walk out through the early garden
only the day and I are here with no
before or after and the dew looks up
without a number or a present age
                                 “Dew Light” ~ W.S. Merwin

 

Comments always are welcome.

Waiting for ‘Fall Day’

  Brazoria Wildlife Refuge ~ September 19

Eric Berger and Matt Lanza, two of Houston’s most trusted meteorologists, maintain a website called Space City Weather. Yesterday, Eric wrote:

A few years ago Dan Reilly, the warning coordination meteorologist at the local National Weather Service, and I were discussing fall cool fronts. We agreed the first day it truly felt like fall in Houston should be a holiday.
Every year since, Space City Weather has designated the first day it will truly feel like ‘fall’ in Houston as Fall Day. This year, that day comes on Wednesday, September 22, after a front moves through overnight and brings much cooler and drier air to the region. It may not be an official holiday, but it sure should be one after we survive summer.

‘Survival’ seems precisely the right term. As August drags into September, the combined pressures of heat, humidity, and hurricanes weigh ever more heavily. Memories of our extraordinary February freeze began to fade in the rising summer heat, just as the browns and grays of a stunned landscape turned once again to green.

Wolf Lake ~ February 28
Big Slough ~ August 8
Teal Pond ~ June 13

Despite our eagerness for autumn, summer’s greens — along with summer’s heat and humidity — will linger into October. But a freshening breeze from the north will make the waiting more bearable, and the first hints of color will make the summer that remains even sweeter. It’s a happy coincidence that this year’s ‘Fall Day’ will occur on the autumn equinox. We’re ready.

 

Comments always are welcome.

Budding Blue, Blooming Blue

more quiet than dawn
faint ripples of lavender
summer’s sweet ending

 

silent explosion
splitting the green-starred darkness
a whiff of blue scent

 

Comments always are welcome.
A Texas native, the blue water lily (Nymphaea elegans) blooms in spring and summer. These were found at the Brazoria Wildlife Refuge on September 5.

A Different Form of Cloudlessness

With Tropical Storm Nicholas wandering off to the northeast, rain turned to drizzle and the wind began to lay, but no more than a tiny patch of blue decorated our afternoon sky. Two hundred miles to the west, lovely blue after-storm skies were beginning to appear, but, in southeast Texas, clouds were the order of the day.

On the other hand, I had a different sort of cloudlessness to enjoy, having discovered this Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae) near the beach on Sunday. I almost always see this butterfly in flight, but this one had chosen to pause and sip nectar from a deeply shaded Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii), said to be one of its favorite flowers.

As autumn approaches, I sometimes see dozens of these butterflies in a single afternoon as they migrate back into the area. One of our most common butterflies, their colors range from an eye-catching lemon yellow to a darker yellow or white; in this instance, I suspect the wings may appear a bit green because of the foliage surrounding the insect.

They do make a nice substitute for an uncloudy day.

 

Comments always are welcome.