Sweetgum in the Sky, October. More sweetgum later, but first we move back in time. There’s no photo editing in this post, not even the cat pictures.
The light actually changes sometime in August, while we’re still all summery. We’re not watching for it, but one day, it’s amber outside. Very pleasant, but it also feels eerie.
Beauty Berries in September, with a few crinkled leaves.
In town, Pokeweed in the Sky; back in August when the strange light begins. We somehow overlooked a plant, resulting in a 15 foot tall monster. Made some nice weird pictures, but it was freakin’ Rappaccini’s Garden out there. Seriously, don’t go near pokeweed, the entire plant is toxic! I zoomed to take the pictures because even touching it can be harmful. Only birds can eat the berries. We’ll be looking to dig up that taproot, wearing gloves, over the winter.
Leaves starting to wither, light glowing gold, shadows deepening. Creeping autumn, in late summer.
Unexpected mockingbird, September, about to take a plunge.
The astute Mockingbird dove right in and dined on pokeberries. The bird will spread the seeds via pooping.
Photos don’t show just how odd the light really is.
These leaves got an early start.
I named the feral cat in town Madame Curious: I loved her from afar, and always hoped to bring her inside with us eventually. She was becoming tamer, staying inside more, but I wasn’t there often enough to get her used to me; she would follow my husband around meowing instructions. We’ve seen ferals turn sweet before, after a time. I was wondering how I’d manage with a wildcat in the house; I figured I wouldn’t be as fleet and skilled as I used to be if she darted out the door or had a tiff with Bud. Meanwhile, after she became an indoor cat, she bonded strongly with a friend of ours, becoming a lap cat! Here’s she is as a house kitty:
The friend wanted to keep her, and we felt this was a great outcome for our wild feline because our friend’s other cats were well-kept, beautifully taken care of. As sorrowful as it was to let Madame Curious go with anyone else, we knew she was with the right person. They had to move several states away though, so now I feel alone under that peculiar fall daylight, in the yard of a house that had been hit by a tornado a few years back, with another friend moved off and not even a little wild cat to anchor me! I will adopt another cat one day, one who is acclimated to humans from the getgo. I can easily care for lovebug cats.
Trees are in a showy skid from lush and bright to sparse and grayed; I’m happy my feral girl’s in a good place but sad, missing her.
Now, terrible world events have broken my heart even further.
Back out at the land in September of 2014, a one-day visit from a flock of grackles. They wished to remain unseen, and made sly use of existing cover. I had to hide and shoot from a distance, so the picture is enlarged and unsharp. I saw one on the ground with a berry in its beak and an attitude in its strut. I’m so taken with their iridescent coloration.
The lighting of wildest dreams.
I love looking into the thickets of leaves, seeing how deep, how jam-packed this forest really is.
Brighter than I would’ve imagined.
On a warm day, a leftover lizard choosing the wrong backdrop:
I zoomed up to the canopy here, saw tiny pine cones, then swooped in closer by cropping to enlarge them. The spiky sweetgum spheres are there too, but hard to see; they were still greenish at the time.
We saw mostly yellow sweetgum leaves with a few red, sometimes a leaf would have both colors and some green. Now in November, one sweetgum treetop has shed its yellow leaves and is dotted with seedpods turned rich brown. We used to paint those silver and gold for Christmas decorations, and pine cones too. On lower branches green leaves persist, tinged on the edges with bright red. More pictures than I can possibly post are still in the camera.
Back to the creek:
Call me crazy but I like the ways these colors and shapes distort at various magnifications. A week or so after I took these pictures, we had a frog-strangler of a rain. Now the creek is raging, washing leaves pictured here downstream.
Y’all please go back and check out part one of this series:
The editor takes a much-deserved break.
The forest gets all the credit for taking off by itself this year, nudging me into posting two more posts than I’d intended. This might be my last post for an unspecified while. I have to work on other things over the next several months, including getting my book on cats and nature published. Here’s a link to a description: