Autumn Glory

American Sweet Gum—Liquidambar styraciflua—Portland, Oregon

Joy of looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift. —Albert Einstein (1879-1955)


I love detail, and the natural world is all about that! Nature’s design is everywhere; it is in everything—a bird feather, the whorls on a snail-shell, the glazed trail of a slug; it is the stained glass charm of an insect wing, the energy of a raindrop, the veiny roadmap of a leaf, and the way reflections of light, and shadow play on water. The diversity is endless!

Here are some of my favorite comprehending moments . . .

Red Maple—Clackamas, Oregon
Western Bracken Fern—Pteridium aquilinum Oregon Cascade foothills
False Solomons Seal Leaf—Maianthemum racemosum Oregon Cascade foothills
Vine Maple leaf—Acer circinatum Oregon Cascade foothills
Foxglove—Digitalis purpurea Oregon Cascade foothills
Sandy River Reflections—Sandy, Oregon
Rainbow Trout—Clear Lake Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon
Chinook Salmon—Oncorhynchus tshawytscha (buck)—Coos Bay, Oregon Coast
Dungeness crab back—Metacarcinus magister, and Barnacles—Big Creek, Sunset Bay, Oregon Coast
Orange Sandstone on Sedimentary Beds of the Coaledo Formation Fault—Shore Acres, Oregon Coast
Little Brown Acorn Barnacles—Chthamalus dalli, and Sand Tracks, possibly Striped Dogwinkle—Nucella ostrina, South Jetty, Florence, Oregon Coast
Reflection of Great Egret—Ardea alba, Siuslaw River, Florence, Oregon Coast
Oregon Coast Sunset—Heceta Beach, Florence, Oregon
Bigleaf Maple Leaves—Acer macrophyllum—Oregon Cascade foothills of home

The other morning, as the East Wind rattled the treetops, I left my desk, and took a walk in the woods. A Steller’s jay followed, flitting from tree to tree. There echoed a hollow beat; a familiar, enjoyable rhythm drummed by a pileated woodpecker tapping for insects. In a mixed wood of fir, cedar, and maple, I sat on a log. Nearby, Jay-Jay perched on a cedar branch draped with moss. As the East Wind stirred, came a blizzard of leaves—large, and golden, some the size of dinner plates, courtesy of the bigleaf maple, Acer macrophyllum. In my notebook, I wrote . . . No two leaves fall the same. Caught up in their leafy ballet, enjoying their autumn glory, I completely lost track of the time, which was my intent all along.


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