Returned from Charlotte in time for an afternoon hike to see my favorite Sourwood tree. It's in the woods across Meetinghouse Creek and almost at the top of the hill. Many of the sourwoods around here have dropped most of their leaves, but maples, hickories, oaks, as well as dogwoods and beech trees are at the peak of color, making it a beautiful hike. Found a wing feather of a juvenile red-tailed hawk under a huge white oak... I know this because I found it at The Feather Atlas - a fun site for bird lovers.
I wandered the woods around my sourwood, listening to the rattle of fallen leaves, field crickets, and the steady hollow knock of a nearby woodpecker. The tree had a spattering of pinky-red leaves remaining on the branches, the rest fallen into a carpet under the tree. It's a huge twisting tree, with a summer canopy so thick that nothing else grows under it. Large branches that have fallen look like serpents wiggling through the sea of leaves.
Twisty branches of the Sourwood tree, last winter.
I finally went to sit in the sun and open breeze to draw. A Buckeye butterfly flitted around over the field, and this St. Peterswort (in seed) was growing right beside me. It's only about 6" tall and has narrow, oval leaves. The remaining bracts are distinctive and help you identify it when not in bloom.
Daisy sat beside me (not on the plant I was drawing), closed her eyes and put her face into the breeze. Eventually she took a nap. We are such an exciting pair!