Sunday, September 29, 2019

An Autumn Excursion - The Season of Change

An autumn excursion

September is an unpredictable month that is sometimes warm and sunny, sometimes cold and windy. It’s that slice of the year when the people, plants and wildlife are in an urgent transition as they prepare for the inevitable winter hardships.

The weather this fall in the foothills has been mild so the dried grasses are a warm mixture of orange and brown. Most of the aspen trees are just beginning to change but in the deepest, darkest drainages, the groves are glowing bright yellow.

During our last excursion, along the forest’s edge, we watched as a herd of elk grazed heartily while the bull bugled theatrically. A family of Abert’s squirrels gathered food furiously and horded it safely in the heights of a ponderosa pine.

Most of the birds are gone but a few will stay through the cold including the hardy red-tailed hawk who will extract voles directly out of the snow. It must be the finches’ favorite time of the year as they feed on the seed-bearing thistle that thrives in the meadowlands below.

In the low light of a morning’s unblemished blue sky, the harvest moon still hovers over the mountain landscape. The structured ridge line is an idyllic setting that has served as the main subject for many pictures.

After such a short summer, I want everything to stay the same but I know that it’s just wishful thinking. I’m a rigid creature of consistency, stability and routine so I don’t deal very well with this - The Season of Change.

Seed-bearing thistle

Mild weather in the foothills

Along the forest's edge

The moon hovers over the mountains

Most of the aspen are beginning to change

Some groves are glowing

A short summer

The season of change

Abert's squirrel

Elk herd

Red-tailed hawk

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