It's 8 am, and the sun edges over the hillside to my far right - every day, its appearance is later, and the arc of its daily journey is lower and lower in the sky. The golden coats of the aspens seem lit from within, a satisfactory outcome of shorter daylight hours and cooler temperatures. Mist rises in lazy curls from the lake's edge, as the warmer air over the water encounters the cooler surface of the land. Autumn has arrived, and I like it.
Numerous plants in my garden offer their seeds to all those who would help with propagation - birds, the wind, me, and perhaps even the grasshoppers.
Plenty of blooms remain in the garden, whether from plants that produce all summer, fall bloomers or young specimens that got a late start.
Many of my fellow bloggers showcase the beauty of their gardens with cut flowers displayed in stunning arrangements. I will admit to envy. Until this year, I did not feel comfortable harvesting any flowers, reckoning that every cut flower represented lost propagation opportunity. At a dinner party we hosted last week, I created a few posies with Aster, Prairie Coneflower, Russian Sage, Yellow Clover, White Clover, Aspen leaves, and Kinnikinnick branches with berries. I am learning what has staying power as a cut flower - Russian Sage is long-lasting; Aster? Not so much!
Wild mushroom hunters know that Autumn brings the prime season for collecting these delectables. Make sure you know your varieties, and pick responsibly. (Shaggy Mane Mushrooms first appear as white cylinders emerging from the ground, then the bell-shaped caps open out. Shaggy Manes should not be eaten raw.)
Autumn is as predictable as taxes, but Nature can still bring pleasant surprises. On June 22, a friend gave me some Autumn Crocus (Colchicum Autumnale) bulbs. Autumn Crocus? I had never heard of an Autumn Crocus! I planted them and gave them a little drink every three weeks or so. Imagine my delight when they started to emerge on September 14! Here's how they look today.
But we can be honored witnesses of these miracles only if we are IN Nature. This week, Dear Neighbor Friend and I braved the morning frost and fog to kayak. The lake had a serene quality, shrouded in mist so thick we could not discern any familiar landmarks. Only the sound of our dripping paddles accompanied us. Slowly, the lake's margins were revealed, and we glided silently along copses held firm by Alder, wild grasses, and Red Osier Dogwood. Hundreds of cobwebs glinted in the sun, seemingly bedazzled by a band of fairies overnight.
I marveled at the realization that the cobwebs have always been there, but it took the mist to unveil them to us.