Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sassafras, Maple, and Oak Leaves

I couldn't let the fall leaves pass without painting a few, so we headed out at midday for a hike and a little journaling time.  Daisy and Dukie did the usual leaping and prancing and fake fighting, and Daisy did her thing of pulling at my shoe laces as I walk... yes, it's always a little difficult getting going!  

Our section of woods is at its peak right now, with hickories, maples, sourwoods, and dogwoods full of rich color.  On the pipeline, though, many of the trees have been stripped bare.  It can be like a wind tunnel out there.  On a breezy day, when you step out of the woods it feels more like the beach than the piedmont of SC.  

As we hiked no human sounds could be heard - no planes, no lawn mowers, no leaf blowers, no traffic - so I was able to hear the soft, high-pitched cheep of  Golden-crowned Kinglets. I found them in binoculars, one male and two females, busy in a dogwood tree.  The male's lovely golden crown was bright and clear. The females look the same, but without the crown, and could be mistaken for other birds, so it's good to see the male with them. It makes identification much easier.  The dogs weren't impressed, so we headed on so they could run, run, fast, fast!  

I hiked (the dogs ran!) downhill toward the creek, but didn't make it all the way to the water.  Instead, I picked up sassafras and maple leaves and found a sitting-spot at the top of the steep drop-off to Meetinghouse Creek, on the upper edge of the sloping field.  By this time Daisy and Duke were tired enough to take naps, so they settled next to me for a snooze.  

Two leaf sketches later I got up to pick a few leaves off of a baby oak tree nearby. They hadn't completely turned, and I thought the color was nice.  But, when I came back to my journal I found a large Wolf Spider sitting on the page!  I'm better about spiders than I used to be, but I just couldn't bring myself to even try to draw him as he sat on my journal, so I whipped out my trusty iphone and snapped a photo.  

By the end of our journaling time the clouds were breaking up, revealing blue patches, and lots of sunshine.  I packed up my bag and headed into the afternoon sun, marveling at the glowing leaves in the woods.

The view from where I journaled.

2 o'clock sun filtering through bright leaves as we head home.

Come on, Mom!