Oct. 26, 2003

At one point I looked down and saw a pale yellow butterfly dead and floating in a quiet pool, looking for all the world like a butterfly leaf fallen from a butterfly tree, which in a sense I guess it was. Mainly, though, the creek and creek bed were filled with the reddish bronze and occasional yellow of fallen beech leaves.

It was a wonderful day for hiking and for photographing fall colors, cool and cloudy, and, confounding my expectations but fulfilling my hopes, colorful here under the canopy along one of my favorite creeks. And about time we saw a little seasonable weather, too. All week it's been hot and blustery, more reminiscent of summer than of late October.

Earlier in the hike it had seemed it was about to get even more wonderful. As I was lining up a shot I noticed at first a few drops of rain, then more, and finally a downpour substantial enough it became prudent to stow the camera gear and pull out the umbrellas I had brought along for this eventuality. I thought I had hit the jackpot, cold and cloudy and now rainy, too!, but sadly the rain lasted for just a few minutes and did not return.

Junie was grateful for the cooler weather as well. She becomes much more of a sprinter in brisk weather, as she translates her evident pleasure into motion.

Fatigue and a late start, both due mainly to a case of incipient flu, or some such bug, stymied my plans to take full advantage of the day by going to another location for more photography after our first hike. We packed it in instead, with the intention of getting an early start the next morning, which promised to be similarly cloudy and brisk.

Brisk it was, but the forecast overcast burned away as the sun mounted high. So our Sunday photo expedition became instead an excursion with sightseeing and some limited ambulation as the primary occupations. We could have done worse than strolling for a bit up and down Lick Branch, then sitting for a spell to enjoy the sunlight playing through the reds and yellows, and now and then when the wind picked up, watching as streams of leaves floated down from the trees like warm and painted snow.