Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Color of Late Summer

Late summer affects the trees and grasses 
along the Dismal Swamp Canal Trail in a variety of ways.
Insects have dined all summer long, leaving leaves looking a little tattered.
Even when enough rain falls, as it did this year, 
the once vigorous leaves of spring begin to appear wan and dry,
and a little tired too.

And yet, the Swamp is a picture in contrasts.
Low-lying areas hold black waters most of the year, 
but with different effects.
I was struck by the appearance 
of a fern bed I had photographed earlier this spring.
Then the water made the ferns vivid green and fresh:

But last week, after torrents of rain in August, they looked like this:

Fortunately, this bare brown muck was the exception. 
Prettier colors show up in unexpected places along the Swamp.

Here a tall green plant is topped with a cloud of pink and dark purple berries:

Red and gold begin to speckle green leaves congregating near the forest floor:

and soft green leaves wake up one day to find a few of their neighbors 
have already clad themselves in autumnal red :

Round green berries turn deep blue on the ends of scarlet stems,
in order to entice birds migrating south to stay awhile:

And because it is still summer,
tiny flowers still carry the brighter colors of the season.

A sapphire blue flower parachutes into a patch of green grass:

and deep violet clusters brighten dark shade like fireflies in the night:

 There are polka-dots of tiny white flowers and tiny yellow ones too.
And a bumble bee and a spider, both clad in yellow and black, 
rested near one another:

They have the right idea.
The only way to enjoy late summer is with a friend.

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