This was taken on an overcast day, and the leaves were obviously suffering from tar spot after a humid, hot summer, but I liked the rich color.

Pretty much the last to fall, the maples and ash trees are already bare.

Autumn, Finger Lakes, FLX, NY, Upstate New York

Walks Around the Finger Lakes – Red Oak Leaves

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Saw this pile of leaves across the street.

 

 

A couple of swift kicks later, it looked much happier.

 

 

 

 

But all too soon, the work of art was vandalized and swept away.

The END.

Autumn

Sidewalk drama in four snapshots

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Nature

Ginko

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perhaps everyone has tired of pretty leaf pictures, but I decided to chance it and post three snaps of a ginko tree.

The ginko doesn’t leap to mind as a go-to for autumn foliage.

It seems like a lot of years, the leaves just turn yellowish-brown and drop to the ground.

But this year I’ve seen a number of them putting on a spectacular golden show.

I’m always pleased to spot one of these, they’ve got all sorts of positive associations.

It’s nice to see something that’s survived for over two hundred million years.

Dinosaurs of the Jurassic, like one of my favorites, the brachiosaurus, could graze on them.

When Frank Lloyd Wright built his first home (in Oak Park, Illinois) he selected the property because there were beautiful ginko trees planted there.

I’ve seen the leaves countless times in artwork from Asia, especially Japan and read that the trees are treated as sacred at Shinto shrines.

Old arboretums in the eastern states of our country inevitably have specimens, some planted in the first years of the republic.

It’s cool for our republic to have these “living fossils” around, like most of our political leadership.

And as an “herbal supplement,” it’s supposed to remedy insufficient blood flow to the brain.

That problem seems to be pervasive right now during the political races, so there’s another good reason to keep these ancient trees in circulation.

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A pair of swans were the only movement in a beaver pond

 

 

 

 

 

 

maples reflected in a small pond

 

 

 

A heronry appeared to be deserted, but I’ve still seen the birds fishing in local creeks.  Most of the NY herons will take off for the Caribbean soon, but some Great Blues tough it out all winter.

 

 

along the shore of Lake Ontario

 

I’ve posted a few pictures from this place in past years.

The Sterling Preserve is not far from Oswego, NY, and about an hour’s drive from Rochester (maybe 45 minutes if you skip the leaf-peeping and drive down Route 104 like a bat out of hell, which is generally the custom in these parts).

In the 1970’s, a utility company acquired thousands of acres to build a nuclear power plant – – there were/are such plants near Rochester and Oswego.  However the plans for this Sterling plant fell through and there’s now roughly 1400 protected acres of fields, wooded hillocks and marshes .  And almost two miles of shoreline along Lake Ontario, all cobble beach.

 

 

The woods are nice – mostly maples, oaks, tulip trees and beeches.  Along the eastern edge of the preserve, remnants of a stone boundary wall and an old apple orchard are visible, now overtaken by native trees.  Near the marshes, there’s more buttonbush shrubs than I’ve seen anywhere else in the region.

WP seems to be doing that thing it does – – some of these photos fuzzy to me, I fiddled with them but no improvement.  They seem to look ok when you click on them.

 

What a variety pack of colors on a single branch from an oak tree

 

 

Birds, Clean Waters, Finger Lakes, FLX, Great Lakes, hiking, Nature, NY, Ontario, Uncategorized, Upstate New York

Walks Around Upstate New York. Sterling Preserve, October

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One of the many nice things about autumn, is that a bit of rain doesn’t spoil the day.

In the summertime, if you’re headed to the beach, determined to swim and sunbathe

but then a rain storm blows in, your day is scuttled & scuppered.

(I thought those terms seemed more sea-worthy than “screwed up.”)

You can go back home, put on your DVD of “South Pacific,”  stand real close to your plasma widescreen,

soaking up a bit of UV radiation, eating your rum raisin ice cream cone with a dusting of sand.

Uncork the vintage bottle of Coppertone you found behind the clothes dryer and have a few sniffs.

But it’s just not the same as a day at the beach.

In your living room, it’s rare to have a gull swoop down to steal your doughnut, for one thing.

 

 

 

But this time of year, a walk in the park on a cool drizzly day is A-OK with me,

bathing in a great woodsy, earthy aroma.

The color of the wet leaves and the mushroom-y notes in the air intensify.

It doesn’t smell of decay, but kind of rich, really.

It’s a smell of health & wealth, as the leaves fall to enrich the earth.

 

 

It’s cool enough to wear a rain jacket, so you’ve got pockets for an apple and a few snacks.

Just enough rain to lay the dust, same idea for taking a hip flask along.

So here’s a few cellphone snaps from a couple of walks, on wet days, sometimes taken during a brief sunshower or an actual outbreak of sunshine.

 

 

 

These two characters were hanging out together. Gray tree frogs. The one hunching on the right, looks much darker, because I didn’t notice him at first, and startled him when I shifted a trash can, so he jumped into a planter filled with water. I scooped him out and dried him off with some tissues but he’s still looking grouchy, or maybe just a bit woebegone, in this shot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I liked this little alien guy, who cleverly disguised his flying saucer as a toadstool.

 

 

Autumn, Nature, Uncategorized

A walk in the park – early autumn

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Autumn, Nature

Autumn leaves ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ A purposeless partial peck of pictures

 

 

 

None of these snaps are stellar examples of photography.  They’re meant for a quick flip through, to enjoy the autumn colors.

I didn’t have much free time this autumn, to walk through the woods while the leaves were doing their amazing color transformation.

 

Sugar maples are my favorites – – creating an incredible number of variations in shades and patterns.

I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch, to compare the loose leaves, to leaves of books – – like a visit to a big library, there’s always going to be just too many to look at and take in.

And the maple leaves are already coming down and fading – – we need some clever tree botanists to improve their shelf life.  Keep the colored leaves on display longer.

Arboriculturist is the term for a tree botanist, I think, making me a humble arboricultourist.

The leaves get stamped by librarians, and anyone else walking, Expired, and turn to brown, way too quickly.  The show is done, and the woods are dun.

When the pages of old documents and books have begun turning brown, the librarians and archivists call them “foxed.”

Well, no good.  Yet another thing that needs fixing.  I think foxes are beautiful, and using them to describe splotches of mold/fungus/rust in dusty old books is highly inappropriate.

I thought of how to replace this term without slandering foxes.

“Warthogged”?  Warthogs are grayish, not brown, so that won’t work.

 

photo from Earth.com

 

I think I found the solution in a fish market.

Monkfish.  Delicious, but ugly as homemade sin, it’s amazing the fisherfolk don’t throw them back in the ocean.  They look like dead blobby aliens, that the harbor patrol pulled up, bloated and brown, after a couple weeks underwater.

And as big-mouthed bottom-feeders, perfect for our current times.

So we’re going to call the paper leaves with brown splotches “monk-fished,” and this term works well with old manuscripts.

“Brown” has positive attributes, of course.  People associate it with Earth.

Down-to-earth, soil, wood, wholesome, organic.

Plain, wholesome.  Good ol’ Charlie Brown.

President Reagan used to wear brown suits, I think it helped project an image of reliability.

 

 

But perhaps in modern/urban days, brown has a less positive image.  The sky in Atlanta or L.A..  The administration packed with brown-nosers.  Remember in “Reservoir Dogs,” when the robbers are assigned color codenames?  Quentin Tarantino, that arbiter of good taste, objects to being called “Mr. Brown,” which he associates with…organic waste, although he used a different term.  (Tim Roth was “Mr. Orange,” and remained silent, it was good he didn’t ask for “Mr. Taupe,” since that’s French for “mole.”)

Brown is also the color of dead leaves, once this colorful time has wound down, and they’re just a heap of decaying cellulose.  Well, here’s a handful (maybe a peck, certainly not a bushel) of autumn leaves, still dressed up for their last hurrah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1963 “Ugly Brown” Lee Hazlewood  https://youtu.be/lRyekqsdgx8

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Random shots from Schuyler & Tompkins counties, in the Finger Lakes region of New York.

Autumn, Finger Lakes, FLX, hiking, Nature, NY, Upstate New York

Walks Around the Finger Lakes. September & October, Schuyler & Tompkins Counties

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Spring is finally trickling in to the upstate woods.

Yesterday the trout lilies and bloodroots were out and about, so we’re feeling a bit more sanguine about the weather.

Still dipping into the 30’s some nights, like a bad habit you can’t break.

And the woods still look autumnal in most places.  Last year’s beech leaves still clinging on, in a few spots, looking pale and ghostly.

Few trees have leafed out, and other than moss and evergreens, the wood colors are predominately browns and grays.

But finally, not a scrap of snow still lurking, even in the crevices of the darkest ravines.

I wondered why these acorns, even if they didn’t fall far from the tree, left without their caps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A weed’s empty seed head, no bigger than a shirt button, is unexpectedly interesting.

Finger Lakes, FLX, hiking, Nature, Spring, Upstate New York

Lingerers

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An old hayrake was abandoned so long ago, it’s now surrounded by mature trees. Well, pretty mature, some of them  were dropping acorns on my head while I took this picture.

 

 

 

 

 

Wesley Hill is a preserve south of Honeoye Lake, managed by the Finger Lakes Land Trust. I like the varied mix of trees – – maples, oaks, black walnuts, shagbark hickories, hemlocks, white pines, red pines.

 

 

 

Autumn, Finger Lakes, FLX, NY, Uncategorized, Upstate New York

Walks Around the Finger Lakes. Wesley Hill, October.

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1 Looking down at a stone bridge in Watkins Glen, NY.

 

Well, ’tis the season for ancient airs and dances.

I was breathing the air of a forest, full of hemlock, cedar, and oak, and listening to alternative/indie bands from long, long-ago.  The 1980’s – -90’s, mostly British and American.  Especially Cocteau Twins, Mazzy Star, My Bloody Valentine, Jesus and Mary Chain, Lush, Yo La Tengo.

When I tried to read about the bands, I kept finding that back in the day, critics often lumped them together as “shoegaze.”

We all like shortcuts and labels – – humans seem to be programmed to sort & categorize.  But I really don’t get the usefulness of this “shoegazing” label, because the music is so varied – – sometimes dreamy electronica, or neo-psychedelic, sometimes kind of punk or metal-sounding.   Maybe “shoegaze” was about critics concerned with clever-sounding snarkiness, instead of any real appreciation or insight.  Apparently bands got tagged this way, because they’d perform standing still, and literally looking down at their feet.  From the feel of the music, and videos, some of the musicians I guess were maybe introspective, lost in a groove, and concentrating on their sound.  (I also read that they were using a lot of foot-operated effects pedals, to create a distorted sound.)

Anyway, the bands achieved some very cool music.

 

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So…so what?  what brought this to mind?  you ask, perhaps in a puzzled, somewhat irritated manner.

These photos today are shoegazing shots.  They were all taken looking downward.

(Do you still hear the expression “I’m down with that,” where you live?   I looked it up, thinking it had a ’60’s or ’70’s vibe, but found it goes all the way back to the 1930’s!?)

 

So the album is downcast, but not depressing – – Watkins Glen, a park in the Finger Lakes, is beautiful in the fall and winter.  Once cold weather begins, the stone pathway and stairs in the Glen are closed, so you can only walk around the top perimeter, looking down into the little gorge and the stream, and even then, you need to watch your step, the trails are often pretty icy.

You’ll find tons of great photos online – – during the summer, it’s probably photographed millions of times.  I’ve walked through there many times during the summer, but always with out-of-town visitors, and haven’t ever tried to photograph the twenty-or-so falls in “good” weather!

But during the park’s “downtime,” it’s pretty interesting, in it’s own way.

 

 

 

 

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Watkins Glen is a small village at the southern end of Seneca Lake.

NASCAR & Trans-Am, etc. fans recognize the name, because they’ve been racing cars there since 1948.   The races used local streets and roads at first, until they ran over a kid, and then built a track.  There’s also boat races on the lake.

 

Ok, you have to look up once in a while. This was a cellphone snap during the summer, and I like the way the overexposed water looks like a streak of light.

 

 

Glen Creek runs down from the hills into the village, dropping about four hundred feet over a two mile distance.  The original settlers, in the 1790’s, just saw that as water power, for grist and sawmills, etc.  But on the 4th of July 1863, the day after the Battle of Gettysburg, the Glen was opened as a tourist attraction, and it’s been an attraction every since.  Now a state park.

 

I’ve never visited the racetrack, but I’ve walked in the park many times, and never get tired of it, in any season.  If you visit, definitely bring some headphones.  “Water Music” to me means Handel, maybe Debussy, Ravel, but Cocteau Twins would also be a perfect soundtrack.

 

 

 

Autumn, Finger Lakes, FLX, Nature, NY, Things to Do When Your Water Crystallizes on You, United States, Upstate New York, Winter

Walks Around The Finger Lakes. Watkins Glen. November, mostly.

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