The stark beauty of a foggy winter’s day

For most of the last week, winter has cast a foggy, rainy spell over our part of the Arkansas Ouachitas. This is how nature makes her own monochromes.

 fog-shrouded silhouettes of pines, oaks and hickories
The fog-shrouded silhouettes of pines, oaks and hickories describe the angle of descent to the south valley.


Blackjack oak
Bared of its leaves, except for a few tatters, this blackjack oak looks almost prickly.

Graceful grapes

I love the shape of grape leaves — deeply lobed, with lovely curves and points and essential to the beautiful fruit they will eventually help create. They are especially beautiful in their youth — blushing, satiny and untouched by disfiguring phylloxera or other pests.

Grapevine tendril
CURVACEOUS — Young tendril curves on itself.
Young grape leaves.
LEAFING OUT — Young grape leaves along the ground.

Waiting for a windfall

The leaves are long gone, but dozens of sweet juicy persimmons hang tantalizingly in the tree’s branches. Some raccoons will climb to get the lower hanging fruit. The rest will just wait for the wind to do the work for them.

Sweet autumn treats could be a windfall for some lucky raccoon. These are the same fruits that produce the “magic” seeds that are used in folkways winter predictions. 

Weekly photo challenge: Saturated

This week’s challenge is saturated — colors your eyes can swim in. So many great entries today. Here’s our take on the theme:

Virginia creeper
SPOTTED — Virginia creeper in fall livery is also saturated by some sort of leaf spot, giving the leaves a somewhat psychedelic appearance.
Red morning glories
REALLY RED — Spent blossoms of red morning glories seem to pop against the dark background.
iery sunset in the Ouachitas.
REALLY, REALLY RED — Fiery sunset in the Ouachitas.

And of course, the saturation point

Weekly photo challenge: Changing seasons

Fall and winter are trying to gain a foothold here in Arkansas. These shots came from one of the few frostly mornings we’ve had here in Central Arkansas  — cold snaps sandwiched between days with highs in the 70s, a few thunderstorms and the occasional tornado watch.

More changing seasons:

And the home for the weekly challenge:

Autumn birds

With the Ouachita’s trees rapidly becoming more bare with each autumn rainstorm, the only decoration to their branches is the feathery array provided by the local bird population.