autumn peak in the Ozarks

Originally posted 10-29-12.

You’d think this whole being allergic to autumn thing would deter me from frolicking out in it, but I installed a scaffold framework under my left eyeball so it couldn’t ooze down my face (loaded up on benadryl, I’m still floating) and spent the last three weeks running around all over the place.

We took off for miles two weekends in a row, one to Stockton Lake and one to Silver Dollar City, both during what turned out to be a lengthier than usual peak autumn foliage in the Ozarks. We have the potential for spectacular color around here, but so often get cut short by sudden sheering winds and nasty cold rains that the leaves get stripped off before we have the chance to bask in their glory. THIS year, autumn walked in casually, hung its coat and hat on the rack at the door like a gentleman, sauntered to a comfortable seat and quipped with the waitress before ordering a pot of coffee, settling itself in to regale us with made up tales of courage and daring do. We got more than two weeks before most of the leaves even thought about the oh-why-not leap into whirlygig freedom around my parts, and it turned into a slow almost choreographed Disney-ish promenade that is still happening on my street. Because the last several autumns have been so disappointing, I had my camera *ready*. There is no “I’ll go back and get that tomorrow” in Missouri. And now, true to nature’s ways, here come the cold winds and rain, and tomorrow the magic part will be all gone, just in time for the spooky Halloween part.

All the thumbnails click out to full size.

The hardest part is trying to catch the real magic on camera. Some of the trees around here go through more than one color change that slowly dots through the trees until you see everything from green to yellow to orange to red to bronze and brown all at the same time on one tree, and it’s stunning, but it keeps changing so quickly that the next day the variegated colors are done. Another tree might turn a bright yellow, then shade to a slightly oranger yellow, kind of like peaches, and then get a burnt sienna overlay that makes it look delicious when the sun hits just right. And while some of the tamer red maples go red all over and lose their leaves quickly, the wilder indigenous ones will flame up more slowly, with the red creeping through the green and then the edges of the red leaves crisping up like the edges of a berry pie in the oven, until brown laces all the red leaves. When the bright sun comes out, the trees glow, and I’ve never been able to truly catch that quality on a camera, even an expensive one. The pictures will come out brighter and more colorful, but you have to be *in* the woods under the canopy while the sun comes out to be part of the glow, like the magical Elven wood Lothlorien. In the upper left corner of this first one you can see a little leaf sticking up that is yellow AND red with the slight brown edging that I was talking about.

Persimmon trees remind me of peach pie.

By now, regular readers of my silly survey blog are recognizing my aspie ‘train spotting’ quirk as a tree obsession that goes into synesthesia overload when all the colors come out.  Since I grew up in the desert without a lot of trees, and now I’m surrounded by them because I live in the woods, it’s all magical.  I LIVE IN MIRKWOOD, guys.  Yeah, *spiders*.  The Ents around me may not be fully awake, but the whispering never stops.

People living along the coasts might be surprised to know that we get some of your seagulls coming through the heartland. Hundreds of them circled in while we were at Stockton.

No idea what this was about. We get a few fun loving eccentrics hiding out in these hills.

 

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