What a difference a few weeks can make. The top photo was taken the week before Thanksgiving. The bottom photo was taken around lunchtime today — the snow and sleet courtesy winter storm Cleon.
Fall’s vivid colors have spanned several months here on the mountain. Most of these photos were taken in early November, a couple of them were taken within the last week. Even here on the penultimate day of November, the oaks, hickories and sweet and black gums still retain their color, even if the canopy is thinning day to day.
According to the Farmers’ Almanac, November’s full moon is known as the Beaver Moon or sometimes, the Frosty Moon. We had a good view last evening!
This week’s photo challenge theme is “renewal.” It’s a hard theme in autumn when Nature is preparing for her winter’s sleep. She did leave some reminders of spring — that great time of renewal. Today, vibrant violets dotted the shaley, leaf-strewn slopes.
Far more interesting takes on the theme can be found here:
- Love: http://shimmeringgrains.com/2012/11/10/weekly-photo-challenge-renewal/
- Snow covered: http://esengasvoice.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/weekly-photo-challenge-renewal/
- Church at night: http://cardinalguzman.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/weekly-photo-challenge-renewal/
- Rainbow renewal: http://annarashbrook.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/weekly-photo-challenge-renewal/#comment-1182
And of course, the BIG photo challenge page:
We’re surrounded — in a good way — by tens of thousands of acres of trees. However, two years of drought put the woods of the Ouachitas* under stress, the kind of stress that can leave trees vulnerable to disease, insects, death and wildfires. As trees went dormant to cope with the lack of water, summer’s leaves tumbled to the ground en masse, looking like fall, but with triple-digit temperatures. So there was plenty of speculation about whether there would be any leaves left for the state’s forests to give its annual foliage show. The trees prevailed.
*”Ouachita” is pronounced “WASH’-it-tah.”
The late summer, early fall flush of wildflowers included these tiny, dark pink blossoms hanging from slender stalks rising no more than a foot from the ground.
A wave of late summer cold fronts and the remnants of a hurricane provided enough water to power a last pre-autumn burst of native color here in the Ouachita Mountains.
*Not being insect or flower experts, if anything here is misidentified please let us know!
The fall-denuded trees along I-40 and U.S. 70 between Little Rock and Memphis were full of big, beefy red-tailed hawks, keen for any prey making a living below in the chaff left after the harvest of rice, soybeans and sorghum. The hawks paid little heed to traffic whizzing past at highway speeds. However, rolling slowly or coming to a halt too close made the big birds spring off in a hurry. It took us several tries to get our “lazy naturalist” photography choreographed, figuring how close we could roll the car; how long it takes to frame the shot; how to push the distance to catch the bird up close and in flight. The trial and error we practiced from St. Francis County all the way to the edge of Pulaski County produced some amusing and wonderfully imperfect shots. When we finally got the driving/shooting duet coordinated, we ran out of highway, hawks and open fields.
We were privileged, during one of our roadside stops, to have a red-tailed hawk make a successful strike just feet in front of the roadster. No photos, but an unforgettable closeup we’ll always have in our heads.
Funny, National Geographic hasn’t called yet …