On my walk at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, I happened upon these shells neatly arranged on a split log. Somebody went through the trouble of finding the shells and then arranging them in the log. All the work so I can happen upon the shells and have something to take a picture of. Amazing. Thank you, unknown artist!
And before I forget. One more picture of an autumn leaf.
Green ones too.
Fall is definitely here in Northern Virginia. The trees are finally resplendent in coloration. The lack of rain may have dampened the deep red, orange and yellow hues so prevalent in autumns past, but the warm weather affords many opportunities for walks in the parks and nature reserves that dot the Washington area. Huntley Meadows, with its wetlands replenished by recent rains, is particularly beautiful in the fall. Reflections are a mirror image of reality and with a little bit of help from a slight breeze, the reality becomes a beautiful dream. A reflection seen in a calm body of water can be beautiful. With longer exposure taken with a tripod mounted camera, the slight undulations in the surface, made possible by a gentle wind, transform the beauty of a tranquil day into a treasure of moving colors, a feast for the eyes.
Segments of a decaying leaf.
Roadtrip! A mild October day was the catalyst for a short, mostly unplanned trip to the Fort Valley area of Virginia. After an hour driving westward on I66, and lunch at Front Royal, Virginia, it was time to decide. Visit Shenandoah National Park or drive towards the Massanutten high country?
Virginia is a beautiful state. This is especially true in the fall, when canopies of color cover the hills and valleys that roll westward, rising slowly towards the grand chain of peaks that form the heart of Appalachia. Fort Valley is a valley within a valley, so to speak, nestled between the Shenandoah Valley and the Massanutten mountains.
A mere seventy minutes from Washington D.C., Front Royal Virginia is the gateway to Skyline Drive and Shenandoah National Park. A launching point to smaller towns and villages that dot the Shenandoah Valley. In mid autumn, the state roads heading west and south are transformed into colorful avenues that beckon further exploration. A left turn at a stoplight. A few miles later, another left turn to Virginia 678. As the road meandered towards the George Washington National Forest, the cloud filled October sky gave way to a kaleidoscope of colors that seemed unending. The red, orange, yellow and green hues of the still leaf filled trees transform into a sonata of color as the road weaved up and down through mountain passes and the valley floor. A quiet Monday afternoon. A stunningly beautiful Monday afternoon.
For millennia, as far back as the ancient Egyptians and perhaps beyond that, flowers have been part of the human experience. What is the first gift that a child gives to his or her mother? A flower, perhaps a rose, perhaps a dandelion. Something from the garden or maybe the sidewalk. A gift of beauty, an act of love.
Flowers of every shape and color stir our imagination. From the simple drawings of a child, to the masterpieces of Monet, to the songs of Rogers and Hammerstein, to the photographs of Weston, to Mendel’s experiments in genetics – flowers have sparked the creativity of untold millions throughout human history.
Color, shape, dimension, form. Family, Genus, Species. We observe. We study. We categorize.. Everything is given an attribute. Flowers are a complex thing, we say. That may be, but we also know the immutable truth. A flower, you see, is simply beautiful.