All y’all, it’s fall!

Fall has definitely made its presence known here in the Arkansas Ouachitas!

Druid

Silhouetted against the midday sun, the broken trunk of a long-dead tree looms like a cowled figure of a druid standing in his oak (and hickory) grove.

Broken Tree trunk
MIDDAY & MYSTERIOUS – Trees cast shadows northward on the ridge.

At first light

Nature has outdone herself this year in Arkansas. The fall colors seem to have lasted longer and been more saturated than any autumn in recent memory. The sun’s low angle made these colors even more warm.

Maples at first light
First light skims this Ouachita ridge revealing these rich autumn colors.

After the rain

Rain has returned to the Ouachitas, and even the trees look happier and plumper for the moisture that’s soaking into the soil. Arkansas is far from being out of danger, with rainfall for most of the state is running 12 to 16 inches below normal. However, the rain has given the state’s firefighters a much-needed break from wildfires and the rest of us a much-needed break from 100-degree temperatures.

STRING OF PEARLS — The white waterbirds in flight through the valley after the passage of a thunderstorm.  They were large and long-necked like herons, but am unsure whether herons flock in flight this way.
WATER! — Fog rises from the valley after a thunderstorm dropped about a quarter-inch of rain before sunset.

The rain was too late to stop this tree from shutting down and losing its crown. Compare the shot below to one from an earlier post on July 1.

TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE — This oak had begun its shutdown a couple of weeks ago and had completely shed its leaves by July 9. If the rain continues steadily, the tree may re-leaf. Some of the hickories have been shedding their nuts and persimmons have dropped unripe fruit to conserve as much water and energy as possible.