Have been fighting a cold the past few days; even didn’t venture out yesterday afternoon, in spite of the absolutely gorgeous, perfect weather. Was not planning to go out for an actual ride this morning, but right out of the door on the short pre-dawn circuit saw clearly large clouds in the dark sky with narrow spaces (in which stars were visible!) between them. Thought of the word “fracture,” that the clouds must be breaking up.
Later in the morning could see from the kitchen window the “fractured” clouds illuminated from the east, and even though I felt a bit woozy, decided not to miss seeing those clouds over Meadowbrook Park. The bottle gentians won’t be there forever, either: here was a chance to pay them a visit.
So rode out slowly at 8:20 am on Rhododendron and didn’t worry too much about observing details this morning. It felt good to move through the 54 degrees F air. Sometimes, like this morning, it’s possible actually to enjoy the feeling of mild illness, the achy fatigue that limits sensory input and keeps one tuned more inward. It has a quieting effect, which can be welcome to those of us who easily get distracted by the variety in our surroundings.
Noticed the progression of fall colors and lack thereof. It’s just how it is this time around.
Decided to focus this visit on the bottle gentians near the “soft” path, but did stop at the rabbit bridge to see an already mostly empty bed of McCullough Creek.
Also noticed more blooming Gaura
and small white asters.
Not so flamboyant as the bottle gentians, but, like the gentians, still blooming.
Near the entrance to the soft path, realized how close I was to the “Marker” gentians, so could not resist a stop. Looked in a different section than last time; there were even more than I knew! Are there so many this (so austere!) year, or am I just getting better at finding them?
Then tore myself away and proceeded down the soft path.
The light at this time of day was more intense and glaring than I’m used to around sunrise, so it was harder to get some photos that were appealing just from looking. Also, the lovely clouds had moved wide apart and thinned out, but then they showed a lot of lovely blue sky. The air was so fresh, as if still recalling Sunday’s rain.
Saw a number of birds, maybe bluebirds among them, and one that looked bluish and with a longish tail that rose silently out above the tall grass, glided a short way, and then descended lightly back down into it. Made me wonder just how many birds and other creatures were right near me but out of view.
Almost stepped on a large male pheasant, which squawked and burst into the air, with undulating tail, right in front of me–it was quite a start.
So then set about searching near the path for bottle gentians. To the north side, not quite half way in, saw what might have been some blue among the tan, brown, and green. Walked in a little way, and, sure enough, there they were! Lots of them, right about where the royal catchfly had bloomed earlier in the season.
Rather than make this post too long and also dilute the grandeur of the gentians, decided to devote an entire post to bottle gentian photos. See, “Thursday 10 October 2013, Continued” for those.
On the path out saw a mink up ahead, which stopped for a moment to look at me before running back into the grass.
Near the Freyfogel Overlook saw a lone monarch butterfly giding over the almost flowerless prairie. Maybe it would find some of those little asters to power its flight south.
Then home again on Rhododendron, slowly, gently.
Stopped to examine an apple tree along Race Street that was heavy with yellow-green apples. Smiled at this sign of the fullness of the season’s end and because I succeeded in pushing a little past my comfort zone to witness it.