In celebration of today's gorgeous blue sky the dogs and I walked down to the river. This is not as easy as it sounds. Usually I get sidetracked by pipeline flowers, so I gave myself a goal, concentrated on the hiking part and tried to forget about looking around. Luckily, the lower pipeline (here we have three that run roughly parallel, with a strip of woods between) has recently been mowed, so I went down to that one for fewer distractions. (Each line is mown every few years, which is why we have such a beautiful prairie out there. It's sad if they happen to mow in the fall, but I have come to accept the mowing as a necessity.) Anyway, Radu, Winston and I made it to the river by way of the lower pipeline. We took the path off the pipeline that runs through the woods, up the steep hill to the rocky ridge, then down down down, through thickets of Christmas fern, wild azalea, and mountain laurel, to the river's edge. The ground was damp from the weekend rain, but I didn't care! The air was cool and the sky as blue as Julian Merrow-Smith's Provence sky in his recent "Postcard From Provence!" I connected with him as I gazed up from the riverside into blue sky and bright yellow poplar leaves. Provence is a beautiful place, yes, but beauty can be found anywhere you are. Just look around.
A special find - the purple-black berries of the Mapleleaf Viburnum. I've seen these berries in field guides but have never seen them in person. The berries are quickly eaten by wild turkey, White-tailed Deer, squirrels, and various songbirds. They must be tasty.