Friday, December 25, 2009

Steve's Sycamore/Christmas Day

The rain has stopped—for now—and there are breaks in the grey clouds. I sneaked out during the most recent break to take this picture of our neighbor's sycamore tree, which stands now like a skeleton in the winter landscape.

You may search the blog for "Steve's sycamore" to see the tree as it has changed through the seasons over the past year. Clicking on the pictures will take you to their larger versions.

At the darkest time of the year, we celebrate return of the Light. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter

It's been raining and cold and we haven't seen the sun for about a week—reminiscent of one new year's in Berkeley, in the early 1980s, when I counted 10 days that we didn't see the sun.

And because I grew up in Florida, I'm used to a lot of sunlight. I don't lie outside to tan any more, but if I go for too long without sunlight, I begin to feel a bit comatose. That winter in Berkeley, I'd get up, walk to work, come home, and go straight to bed. I'm trying to resist the temptation to do the same thing now, but it's hard.

All this rain is knocking the remnants of autumn's leaves off all the trees. Pretty soon, beauties like the one pictured above (a pignut hickory, maybe?) will be bare skeletons, reaching bony arms to the sky.

And if we needed any certain signs that winter is upon us, they have come over the past three nights—the high chirruping cries of sandhill cranes, arriving (late, I think) for the winter.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Fall in Florida/Proof #2

Here's more proof—a couple of autumn-hued beauties on the banks of the Santa Fe River.

Season of melancholy! Eye's enchanter!
How pleasing to me are your farewell hues—
How I love the pomp of fading Nature,
The trees arrayed in gold-vermilion dress,
The fresh wind blowing through their tops and
The dense and darkly undulating skies,
The sun's infrequent ray, the early frost,
And grizzled Winter's lightly murmured threats.

-Alexander Pushkin, from Autumn (A Fragment)

Fall in Florida/Proof #1

Yes, we have it—fall is an actual season in the part of Florida where I live, although in some years the colors are more intense than others. A couple of years ago, we had a really spectacular fall, so much so that the local newspaper even ran large full-color pictures of the foliage.

We haven't been so lucky this year, but we are finally seeing some good fall color. Here's proof, in the picture above—a carpet of leaves at the nearby spring.