It was 66 degrees F at 6:45 (missed official sunrise (6:44 am, which, according to the phone weather ap, today exactly mirrors the predicted sunset of 6:44 pm) by a minute, the sky with some big, puffy clouds and a bit of distant fog.
Was eager already last night for this morning’s ride with anticipation of bottle gentians and whatever today’s manifestation of the leading edge of autumn might be.
Rode Rhododendron south on Race Street, headed for Meadowbrook Park. Cast a cursory glance under the spruce trees where there had been not a single mushroom two weeks ago and was amazed to behold a well-developed population of Amanita muscaria!
Tried to content myself with a couple of shots,
but it was so difficult to not continue to try to capture their delightful arrangements.
Made me wish that fairies could make use of the luxurious accommodations.
Rode onward thinking of large white mushrooms I’d seen from a distance last week and just wasn’t able to stop for them. By the time I could return, they were gone. Also thought of the pawpaw trees in our BACKYARD, for crying out loud, whose fruit I’d lovingly observed developing up in their branches earlier in the season, picked up the first one to fall, anticipated pawpaw cream pie, and then saw not a one the next time I made it back there to check on the crop. There is so much to miss out in the world! Which is just to emphasize how precious are the things we catch, when we can catch them. I wonder if the treasures of the past become a burden when we expect them to return, when we seek to repeat some special event, to fit them in among new experiences. Maybe their true value lies in being unique and unrepeatable. Still, the unexpected return of something missed (like the Amanita mushrooms, is a special joy!
Saw the sun disc while waiting at the annoying stop light at Race and Windsor.
Knew the cardinal flowers would be finished (except maybe for a few blooms, to which one would have to get very close to see) but stopped for the customary view of McCullough Creek from the rabbit-statue bridge.
Proceeded to the “upland cardinal flower site,” where there probably still were turtlehead. Knew the cardinal flowers would be gone but was greeted, as if in consolation, by bright sneezeweed.
Walked in toward the turtlehead and saw pink New England asters
Purple New England asters against goldenrod,
and turtlehead against goldenrod
Saw strange little pink flowers at the end of thin stems
which, per the suggestion of my husband, appear to be cinnamon willow-herb (Epilobium coloratum).
And then, to my amazement, saw gorgeous blue, healthy-looking bottle gentians!
pretty as a picture.
A world with cardinal flowers and bottle gentians surely can’t be hopeless.
Caught the unmistakable scent of mint (still!?!) and sure enough, there the mountain mint were,
Got a view of the still-lush common goldenrods with the fog-softened sun rising above them.
Just across the little arch bridge over Davis Creek got a view of the blue wild sage, few flowers of which remained at this point, but still the plants were stately and healthy-looking.
Close to the Marker Statue were different shapes and shades of yellow.
Looked with a little trepidation, (recalling the chewed ends of the plant’s from last time) for bottle gentians near the statue (gentians just don’t jump out at you–you have to go look for them at the foot of taller plants) and eventually did find some.
They were not so vigorous-looking as the ones At the devious site, but there were a fair number of them,
and there were plenty of developing buds.
Still, a lot of them looked ravaged,
Also documented the trailing edge of the cream gentian bloom.
Got another view of goldenrod, this time amid Indian grass.
Goldenrod draw one in to their foamy, feathery, shapely yellowness. They are invasive (but native!), yet they can make a disturbed patch of land look glorious for a few days. Was glad to have been there or to miss the prairie’s last golden hurrah!