Sunday 30 October 2016. Farewell Bottle Gentians

It was about 59 degrees F at 8:18 this morning, the sky cloudy from the congealing of the light puffs of clouds that were zooming in from the north

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while I was walking Sparky, the Senior-Wonder-Bichon before the ride on Rhododendron to Meadowbrook Park.

Stopped for some fall color,

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then went on and peeked in among the spruce trees as I passed to see about mushrooms, which were still there as they were yesterday.

Then proceeded to Meadowbrook in search of the year’s last bottle gentians. But not without getting a view of McCullough Creek from the rabbit-statue bridge.

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Meadowbrook definitely was about shades of brown with accents of red and yellow, but with still-vibrant greens of those plants whose internal rhythms let them take advantage of this mild autumn.

A short way down the path looked where I thought I remembered seeing them for what remained of the bottle gentians. Could not find them for at first but finally spotted their red stems and a couple dots of blue,

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and then the rest of them.

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They were not the fresh, gorgeous blue blooms of a few weeks ago, but was happy to see evidence of seeds among the dry, color-drained petals.

A contrasting yellow sneezeweed bloom also remained.

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Then rode on to check for bottle gentians near the Marker statue. There were a few still very blue ones,

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strangely beautiful in their decline, against the bleached grass, and here also it looked like they’d set seed.

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An old favorite song, “Farewell to Tarwathie,” as performed by Judy Collins came to mind, and I tried to substitute autumnal prairie lyrics:

Farewell bottle gentians
Adieu goldenrod
And all dear prairie flowers
I bid you farewell!

You’re bound for the black soil
To sleep till next year
When the spring red-winged blackbirds
Will again greet my ear.

Not Bob Dylan, but it feels good and fits ok.

My prime goal attained (though a long ride would have been good, too), continued on the path, catching images of the withdrawing inward of metabolism from the landscape.

There were a few bright red leaves of blackberry brambles.

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Wild indigo pods rattled eerily in the wind amid white goldenrod seed heads.

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Some of the pods were split open,

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and empty.

Got a nice view of the fading prairie

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with a dot of distant red from in front of the Freyfogle overlook.

Came around to the Windsor and Vine entrance to the park and remembered scenes of fall color that were not displayed today. For one thing, the apple and crab apple trees near the entrance had been cut down.

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Was it plant disease facilitated by the drought, and/or by global warming? Whatever the reason, it was another reminder that life is change.

Near the northwestern corner of the neutral-colored park was a green flush of foliage and flowers that looked to me like ragweed,

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though the leaf shape didn’t seem quite right. Another effect of the unseasonable warmth, probably.

Farther along, was drawn in by this abundance of color and shading in front of one of the doors to Clark-Lindsay Village.

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Not nature, exactly, but not outside of its touch, its influence.

Then rode south on Race street, along which the turning trees were bathed in morning autumn light.

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How can one not be vulnerable to love in the widest sense under the early light (in the late afternoon it’s pretty darned gorgeous, also) of autumn?

Close to home, the ride was punctuated by a multicolored bough of sweet gum,

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a note in the swan-song of the year, the love-death, the grand farewell to this year’s season of growth.

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