In Winter, Cat and I Look Back at Fall

Only one picture, one instant (that I caught), had anything like the color effects in this foreground.

Everything’s different now at the creek, all leaves were washed away by heavy rains. More storms are on the way, with severe weather potential.

Franklin on an autumn afternoon

I miss all those quirky fall colors; Franklin misses the sunnier light and the autumn smell of freshly-turned leaves and sounds of busy outside critters.

A quick word about Franklin’s eyes. He has large and very prominent eyes. I think that’s the reason a few people say he looks “startled”. Frankie’s somewhere on a continuum between feral and socialized to humans, and he has a detached, grouchy demeanor at times. He’ll even purr with that look on his face! But if he was really startled, his pupils would be much larger. One day I’ll do a post about his gorgeous eyes.

Stopping by

Translucent, with tree shadows

Saw the forest, it was floating

Semblance of trees

Murky tree hints

Looks like evening, but isn’t. Still looking back

Waves of green

Subsurface origins

Unsmooth landing

Crossing currents


Rock Slap

Shadow Animation

Reality check

A little calming glitter

Lagniappe: The beautiful Shelley, our friend’s cat, in September light:

Shelley! Found on the streets as a kitten, she became a sweet house cat.

We end with Frankie sitting upon me and demanding attention. He likes to stretch out one front foot and rest it on my forearm while he sleeps.

Don’t forget my book, er, “our book” says Franklin, and he’s right, it’s not Woods, it’s Catwoods. Available on Amazon (check out my new Amazon author site and the nice things friends are saying about the book) and at Borgo Publishing. For international orders, contact, found on the Borgo site at the top.

About Leah

I'm Leah T. Alford, a writer fascinated by the natural world and animals, especially cats.
This entry was posted in black cats, Cats, Creeks, Nature and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

76 Responses to In Winter, Cat and I Look Back at Fall

  1. Ellen Hawley says:

    No insult intended to either Shelley or the other photos–they’re all gorgeous–but Franklin is quite the cat.

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you so much Ellen! Franklin likes your comment best of all!

      • Ellen Hawley says:

        Sigh. Cats. Such shameless egotists.

        We had a black cat name Smudge (a.k.a. The Mighty Smudge) who liked to sleep in the linen cupboard. Sometimes I’d open the door and see nothing but eyes glowing out at me. He did make me jump sometimes. Your Franklin and his gorgeous eyes reminds me of him.

  2. Leah, the reason is I am in wrong country. Power dictates lot of things in life. One day, I may have the power. The point I was trying to make is ecology still revolves around upper class obsession, ironically rich folks have money to hobnob and control and wildlife conservation rocks in the mercy of conglomerates across the hemispheres. Resist much, obey little! Ashraf

    • Catwoods says:

      Ashraf, I think I see what you’re saying. Big money should not hold sway over science. Ideally science should be an open inquiry, by many qualified participants. There should be no preconceived notions about results, there needs to be peer review, repeatable results, and if mistakes are made, science “corrects” itself due to ongoing research as time goes on. Research needs funding but it should not be influenced by special interests of those who fund, especially industries that might profit one way or another. AFAIK universities have that goal, though I’m not really familiar with how they run their science programs. And, someone always wants to run things in any group endeavor, that seems to be human nature. Above all, we need peace world-wide, we need everyone to turn their efforts towards working together to preserve and save the Earth. The International Waterkeepers Alliance is a great organization, of local people working to keep their waterways healthy, but I think it’s mostly volunteer. Cheers, Leah

      • Yes Leah, your comment is science bound and pragmatic. In fact these recent conversations sparked interest on writing up something along this direction and I may try to find time to write an essay and post it to Species Ecology at one point soon. I can only talk from my experiences with regards to wildlife science and related disciplines like conservation biology or wildlife management. I think there are lot of institutional setbacks and personal bias are at play. Take any international conservation organization as an example. Often they operates under invisible hands of institutional prejudices based on race, ethnicity, etc. I am not going to name organizations but as far my observation goes there are fundamentally partial both in terms of their human resources and conservation policies. I know people often will turn their back on me when I say things as I see and as bold as I am doing here now but the interplay of socio-political and personal prejudice play significant role to ensure talented wildlife biologists from economically malnourished but ecologically rich nations are kept behind the scene either as volunteer or more importantly as nobody. The phenomena is also apparent in peer-reviewed scientific journals where ‘given privilege’ comprises list of people who meets journals personal and social prejudices. My comments here are severely sociological at its core and heatedly controversial on the surface! Saludos! Ashraf

        • Catwoods says:

          When it comes to hiring and workplace practices, there should be no bias or partiality regarding race, ethnicity, gender, etc. It’s so sad to hear that this still happens, I had hoped that it would end one day and we would see fairness in all arenas of human life on earth. I still hope that as things evolve more sensible people will be running these endeavors; the world needs the talents of everyone working together to overcome the environmental problems and restore sustainable ways. Hopefully there are people out there who want to do better . . . Cheers, Leah

  3. Hello, new friends! We love your beautiful photos!

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Lola, we appreciate it! We checked out your page and your Instagram and enjoyed your photos. Your link above doesn’t go to your blog, though (?), I typed in the name to find it.

  4. Stunning pictures, Frankie and Leah and Shelley is one good looking girl 😸Pawkisses for a Happy Tuesday🐾😽💞

  5. MNL says:

    Franklin is gorgeous and so is Shelley, your neighbor’s cat. I can see why Franklin misses the autumn — the colors swirling in the stream is amazing. Franklin’s golden eyes are lovely. It’s like the perfect combination with that black fur.

  6. Gorgeous. You take the ordinary and elevate it to the truly extraordinary. And the cat’s coool too 😉

    • Catwoods says:

      Franklin and Shelley and I thank you Rosie! I’m enjoying seeing your art every day! And while I’m having fun doing this, I’d really rather be drawing and painting and doing mixed media like I did before becoming ill. Something much more like what you are doing!

  7. Hi there, I’m so sorry I somehow unfollowed your blog but yay I found it again 🤗🙈
    Thank-you for the visit! 💕

    • Catwoods says:

      No worries Saania, many on wordpress have said they’ve found themselves not following blogs they have followed lately, it may be some sort of glitch. Thanks for following!

  8. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing this with us. Franklin is a fine fellow. Forgive me if I should already have an answer to this, but are these photos available as prints to purchase? There are a couple I’m really taken with.

    • LeahCatwoods says:

      Bridgett, thank you so much, I’m happy you like the pictures! And Franklin loves what you said about him! I hadn’t intended to sell prints but I’ve gotten a number of requests, so now I am sort of thinking about it. It would have to be a long range project but we do intend to give it some thought. I haven’t said anything about it online for awhile, so there’s no way you could know.

  9. Pam Lazos says:

    Mmmmmm, love these.

  10. Shelley is gorgeous.

  11. cat9984 says:

    Franklin’s a gorgeous cat. I love the color of his eyes.

  12. claire says:

    Amazing colours!

  13. Lovely colours! thanks for the weather report Franklin! Maybe there will be ice on the creek soon.

    • Catwoods says:

      Thanks Greg, I’m happy you liked the pictures! Ice on the creek would be something to see! Any subfreezing temperatures we get usually don’t last long because we’re close to the Gulf. That said, sometimes we do get sustained freezing temps.

  14. Lavinia Ross says:

    Beautiful images, Leah, especially Franklin! Autumn is my favorite season, too. The lighting, scents. and the cornucopia of good things from the garden all play into that.

    • Catwoods says:

      Thanks Lavinia, I’m happy you liked the photos! I’m with you about autumn, it’s really pleasant and intense and it’s when so many festivals occur, I try hard to find the beauty in winter but I’m not too fond of it. Sorry to be late answering you, those storms yesterday were potentially serious and therefore time-draining.

  15. Nice colorful wavy images and Franklin looks cool as always. Yes his eyes reminds me my Megan Sweetie’s Eyes. My other cat Yuki Sweetie was missing for five days, but she returned and although I put a collar now, 48 hours later she lost it. I was really sad for not seeing my Yuki for over five days and now happy that she returned. There is no way I can stop her going out as she gets frantic staying inside all the time. However, there is no way to find out where she goes unless I install radio tag which is awfully expensive. Thanks again for sharing great images. Saludos! Ashraf

    • Catwoods says:

      Ashraf, thank you, I’m happy you liked the photos and I I’m glad you have a kitty, Megan Sweetie, who has gorgeous eyes like our Franklin. So sorry your Yuki Sweetie went missing for so long, and I’m glad she’s back. I know it’s very hard to keep some cats inside. I’m aware also that recommendations differ in various countries as to whether to keep cats inside or not. In the US we have coyotes almost nation-wide, in cities and suburbs too, and they are a danger to cats. In countries with no coyotes indoor-outdoor is a lot safer.

      • I adore Coyote. They are so graceful. Ecologically, both wild canids and felids coexist in harmony for example wolves and Mountain Lions in North America, Dhole (Indian Wild Dog) and Tigers in South Asia but domestic cats with wild animals I am not sure. Almost all species (except humans) are more resilient and humble towards other species or at least that’s what I think. Saludos!

        • Catwoods says:

          I like coyotes too Ashraf, and I’m in favor of all wild animals having the space to live as they were meant to. I am nervous about living around coyotes though, because they do prey on domestic cats and small domestic dogs, and occasionally exhibit stalking behavior around humans. They are, of course, just trying to survive. There are ways to discourage them, like not leaving pet food outside. They were originally western US animals and as they migrated east they interbred with wolves and became larger. They are really adaptable and now seem to thrive around cities and suburbs and even right in these places. I agree with you that humans in general don’t have the generous attitudes towards animals, wild and domesticated, that I would like to see. Cheers, Leah

          • Nice reply Leah. Its well rounded and valid. Just couple of things I like to mention. I think almost all non humans species are there to safeguard earth and carnivores play major role in this direction. Erected two legged non-hoofed mammals are often distorted image for carnivore when it comes to their predatory instinct. For example, lot of folks think tigers when they confront you will attack right away, but often it is not the case unless human provokes the tiger. Next time if you see Coyote stalking you may be you can give her a chance. She may be simply inquisitive and like to play with you. As far my observation goes its only humans who enjoy and relish killing humans and non humans species. Saludos! Ashraf

            • Catwoods says:

              Interesting Ashraf! Essentially I agree with you. Carnivores are part of the balance of nature. However when it comes to the safety of companion animals and humans I must err on the side of caution and recommend being careful when predatory species are around. We don’t harm the coyotes or any other wild animals, we don’t carry weapons, we are just careful. We keep our cats inside and we recommend people walk with their dogs and don’t let them roam by themselves in areas where coyotes are known to be around. I’ve never been stalked myself, I’ve just heard of it happening to other people. In any confrontation we would yell, blow whistles, and make ourselves look big, to scare them away; that’s what experts recommend. It’s better for wild carnivores if they don’t become too accustomed to being near people, because although we won’t harm them, there are people who would if approached. I certainly agree with you about the terrible ways humans harm other humans and animals, it weighs heavily on my mind. That’s part of the reason I chose to write about animals rather than humans, I don’t understand humans very well. In advocating indoor homes for cats I’m aware that different countries do things differently, for instance in UK there are no coyotes and the streets and neighborhoods are organized differently from the US so cars aren’t as much of a hazard. So I’m aware that in UK most cats are indoor/outdoor. Cheers, Leah

              • Candid and practical comment Leah. Yes, human-carnivore conflict is major driver for species extinction, notably in South and South East Asia. It sank my heart knowing people often fail to see the beauty and charisma of species ranging from Snow Leopard of high mountains of Nepal, Amur Leopard of Russian Snowy landscapes, Fishing Cats of Indian deltaic mangroves, Iranian Leopard of Arabian deserts, Lions of African grasslands, Jaguars of Amazon basin and Mountain Lions of Yellowstone! Generally I can’t connect to fellow humans due to sever ecological and environmental conflicts that stem from their ignorance hence conversation always fail to spark. People are motivated by social (fashions, status, competition etc) and material (cars, swimming pool, golf course, etc) abundance per se as oppose to ecological or philosophical significances within and beyond their life. In the UK, I do graveyard shifts and there is not a single day goes by when I don’t see humans ran over non human animals. Ducks, cats, jack rabbits, deer, hedgehogs, stoats, pole cats, pine martens and list goes on. Often people run over these amazing species purposefully. People can always slow down and drive carefully in country road but they won’t cos of their ego and social prides which as far I see is hollow at core. Your work on non human species is critically important be it domestic cats or wild animals. Keep up the brilliant work. Saludos! Ashraf

                • Catwoods says:

                  Ashraf, thank you so much for your encouraging words! I understand about being discouraged when you see where people have run over animals on the road, that happens here too and it hurts my heart. However, there are many good people world-wide working for the well-being of animals and the planet. You are one of them and your website shows you are doing significant work, you have the scientific credentials to really make a difference! So I hope you will not get too discouraged, I know it’s easy to feel that way. I live in an area of the US where it’s hard to get the political will to legislate in favor of the environment. Still, there are many here advocating for nature, and we keep on. I can only advocate as I don’t have the scientific knowledge except where I have researched about domestic and wild cats and a few of the wild animals in my location; and what’s left of my health is fading. But you and others like you are doing the good work on behalf of the Earth, educating as well as advocating; there are people out there who understand that, and I’m sure you will connect with them. So I say the same to you, keep up with your brilliant work, and cheers! Leah

                  • Hi Leah: Thanks for such a commendable and spiritedly motivating reply. I simply hope your health gets better so that you can continue your dedicated works focusing non human species. It’s definitely my pleasure to connect to someone like you who is inherently non utilitarian and ecologically and socially just. I will continue supporting your causes and will share both academic and social resources in future (I have great collection of books that I will share with you). As far wildlife ecology and conservation biology, these are academically always my passions but due to social, economic, political and institutional setbacks, I end up scratching outside of the Ivory Tower! Scientists and academics have considerable latitude and power to make things happen on the ground but I can equally marshal an argument that social bias, prejudice, nepotism and many other pitfalls that linger and hangs in the scientific and academic atmosphere within the wildlife science and conservation rubrics, make it astoundingly impossible to probe your way into the impermeable walls of the Ivory Towers across the Atlantic. In short, one may have considerable knowledge and skills but it does not permit him to utilize and live at his highest potential due to setbacks stemming from societal, political, cultural, religious, administrative and institutional biases and prejudices. In the meanwhile species extinction continues unabated. In spite of all these inherent and deeply embedded impediments that I have no control of, I make an endeavor to live up to my passions. Towards Ecologically Sustainable Future! Ashraf

                    • Catwoods says:

                      Ashraf, thank you for all your encouraging words! I am sorry that you are not employed at this time in the scientific field. You are well educated and very knowledgeable! I do know people who have advanced science degrees though, who still have trouble finding suitable work, so I know it’s not easy. I hope one day the right position will come along and you’ll be working in science. Meanwhile I commend you for keeping up your efforts and study of animals and environment! Cheers, Leah

  16. Bernadette says:

    I love it when it looks like stained glass. Only in the autumn with all the extra colors. Housepanther purrs to Franklin.

  17. Chandra Lynn says:

    All the photos are so gorgeous!!! Felt like I was there.

  18. 15andmeowing says:

    My black cat, Trouble has those startled look eyes too. I love your photos, you are an amazing photographer. Thank you for the kind words you left on my blog for the loss of Prancie. XO

    • Catwoods says:

      Ellen, thank you so much for your kind comment, I’m happy you like the pictures! It’s good to know Trouble has the wide-eyed and startled look too! I’m so sad for you about Prancie, many hugs and love to you and your family. ❤

  19. nananoyz says:

    Monét-ish! Lovely!

  20. Timothy Price says:

    Beautiful abstract reflections. Franklin looks like he’s had too much coffee. Beautiful photo of Shelly.

    • Catwoods says:

      Thanks you Tim, I’m happy you like the pictures! Shelley is easy to photograph, she’s just so gorgeous. Ahahaha Franklin is a tad overactive, maybe he’s secretly getting into the coffee . . . on a serious note he is one we will probably not introduce to catnip.

  21. I enjoyed your beautiful photos!

  22. Mew mew mew Miss Leah guud luck on sellin yore book…umm, wait…’yore’ book. Franklin wantss his share of fame too!
    An Franklin you have lovelee eyess…..
    Mee too iss like you: semi-feral; sorta social….well purrty much onlee social with LadyMew an Aunty Melinda an Aunty Sheila.
    An yore neighburr cat Shelley lookss alot like ‘angel’ Unkell Siddhartha’ss Meowy all so named Shelley!! Furry purrty cat….
    ***purrsss*** BellaDharma

    • Catwoods says:

      BellaDharma, thank you so much for the good wishes! Franklin for sure wants to be acknowledged in the second volume of the book, for gracing the household with another kitty after we lost our sweet little Ultraviolet, and just generally being Franklin! He is really impressed that you noticed his eyes! Franklin is a bundle of contradictions, he seems friendly around people who visit, but there is something remote about him, he does not blink back and forth with me as much as other cats have . . . Anyhow, another kitty named Shelley, I bet she is a pretty one! Purrs to you also BellaDharma, and to LadyMew!

      • Meow Shelley iss furry Purrty butt shee iss a barn cat an will not come close to LadyMew. An mee made a miss-take ;bout Shelley…shee iss ‘angel’ Unkell Siddhartha’ss Aunty!
        An mee has onlee started to do ‘slo blinkss’ to LadyMew since bee-fore Catmass. Mee can still bee a bit ferally butt mee triess not to bee like that Miss Leah 😉

  23. You have an eye for color and patterns! Love your imagery.

  24. Tanya says:

    Gorgeous photos💚💚💚

  25. Those are stunning photos – really something! Great cat photos too. 🙂

  26. John says:

    Beautiful photos, well done!! Your cat’s eyes grabbed my attention straight away, they are beautiful. 😻🥰😎

  27. Lauren says:

    Beautiful, Leah; beautiful Franklin, , beautiful colors, especially the water. Thank you.

    ❤ Lauren

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