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Posts Tagged ‘september’

What exactly marks the end of a season and the beginning of the next?  The calendar has little to do with it.  Despite the subtle changes that slowly happen over days and weeks, one day these all accumulate and the transformation from summer to autumn is all too evident.  A lone trembling red leaf sends out the message to all:  summer has ended.

Canada geese too announce the message in the marsh with their honking call.  The days are getting shorter.  Even the sky and waters at sunrise seem different, less warm and more ominous of the darker, colder mornings ahead.

As if to compensate, the marsh grasses glow with golden hues.  Do herons dread the colder days ahead as much as we humans do?  Warm and wonderful summers are especially difficult to leave behind.

The end of summer means food will soon be difficult to find for many creatures.  In the marsh, the woods, and even the house, spiders can be  seen diligently spinning their webs in the hopes of capturing the last of the season’s flying insects.

Those who haven’t prepared for the colder days ahead will be singing their sad songs in the days to come.

Please let me out so I can sing in the sunshine one last time.

This post was written in response to Scott Thomas’ End of Summer challenge at Views Infinitum.

All text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2012.

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Canada geese may be just barely visible beneath a cover of marsh mist but their morning talk is unmistakable.  Their communication is not just limited to their signature honk but to a medley of sounds as they wake to another day in another marsh.

According to Ducks Unlimited, Canada geese may be only next to humans in their talkativeness.  Greetings, warnings and contentment are all communicated from the time a gosling is still in its shell.

However, as there are some humans who like to talk more than others, there are probably some geese who are also more talkative than the rest.  I wonder if some geese put their heads underwater to get away from the nagging chatter under the pretext of finding food.

geese talking

Don't even think of flying next to her today!

Considering the amount of effort that goes into planning a trip abroad for a large group, it’s probably the communication skills of geese that allow them to be so successful in their migrations year after year. 

Geese are known to share the responsibilities of leadership, especially in flight.  Also, if a member of the flock is injured, two will stay behind to nurse it back to health, rejoining the larger flock together after it recovers.  Any of these actions would require a great deal of planning and discussion.  No wonder they’re so talkative!

Once the geese have breakfast, make their flight plans and leave, quiet returns to the marsh until the next flock arrives to spend the evening.  

For more information about these beautiful and talkative birds, see Facts on Canada Geese at Ducks Unlimited.

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A sunflowers blooms in a bed of dried eelgrass in the salt marsh.

September’s flowers reveal varying hues of yellow in the marsh, along the roadside and in the garden.  Some, like the Sunflowers, are bright and bold, while others like the Sea Radish are pale and barely there.

Traditionally it is women who are considered best at discerning subtle differences between colors.  Often attributed to women’s historic role as fruit and nut gatherers, it’s no surprise that the ability to select safe and ripe foods is so closely tied to the skill of correctly choosing and remembering colors. 

Yet, it was two males, the colorist Josef Albers and the painter Vincent Van Gogh, who made the greatest strides in harnessing the wonders of yellow in art.

I was for years in the yellow period, you know.
~ Josef Albers

Above, a sampling of yellows  found in just six species of wildflowers reveals a marvelous variety.  September’s warm light gives them a cheerful disposition despite the approaching cold. 

The names of some flowers are inspired by their colors as in the Butter and Eggs shown above.

Like human beings, colors are influenced by others in their immediate surrounding.  They possess the magical ability to transform one another into even more wondrous versions of themselves.  How striking the Black-eyed Susan appears above against a backdrop of white spruce! 

There is no blue without yellow and without orange.
~ Vincent Van Gogh

Despite advances in digital imaging, colors seen by the naked eye in natural light still cannot be replicated truly by technology.  When I was an art student, one of my painting professors told me she could tell that I had used a photograph of a sunset as the subject for a painting because she could see that I had made use of a more limited palette.  Had I made the painting looking at a real sunset, I would likely have chosen a greater variety of yellows and oranges than those  made available at the time by Kodak.

There is no substitute for seeing late summer’s yellow blooms in person.  The time to drink up your fill of them is now, while the warm September light is still able to show them at their best.

I really just want to be warm yellow light that pours over everyone I love.
~ Conor Oberst

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autumn leaves

Autumn brings brilliant hues that brighten up the Nova Scotia landscape.  In the salt marsh, maple leaves and red apples stand in bright contrast to the evergreens and grey waters.

red apples

Bright orange rose hips replace summer’s pink blooms on the wild rose bushes. Full of vitamin C, they’ll provide a nourishing treat for birds in the cold winter months ahead. They’re often dried for use in herbal teas.

rose hips

nightshade berriesUnlike the rose hips, the elongated nightshade berries shown at left, are NOT edible. Both the fruit and leaves of this plant are extremely toxic. Consumption of fewer than five of these berries can be lethal to children. It’s best not to eat any wild berries that grow in a similar oblong (as opposed to spherical) shape.  These nightshade plants are  numerous along the edges of the salt marsh trail and can be identified by their purple flowers during the summer months.

Nightshade was used to poison the tips of arrows by early people.  It was also used to poison political rivals in Ancient Rome and employed by MacBeth to poison troops in Scotland.

This single long stemmed red rose was found wedged between two tree trunks along Rosemary’s Way, a small path that leads off to the side before the first bridge on the trail. How it arrived in this setting is a mystery.  Besides heralding the cooler days ahead, it would appear that Autumn’s colours reveal the fiery passions that still lie beneath the surface.

red rose

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ciliolate astersFlowers in the Aster family are a common sight in September.  With disk-like heads, these flowers are composites that are all considered edible.  Each petal is actually an individual flower.

Daisies, sunflowers and dandelions all belong to this family but so do flowers that are known by the name of the family itself:  asters.

Blue and white asters are common both in my yard and along roadsides in September.  The white asters are the first to appear, often in woodland settings.  These go by the name of parasol and flat-top aster. 

 

white aster

Asters with a blue or purple hue are various.  The intensity of their colour varies.  Some are low bush while others grow tall.  Often known generally as Michaelmas daisies, these are in bloom around the feast of Michael the Archangel on September 29th. 

asters

An ancient feast, Michaelmas is considered the Christian equivalent to the autumn equinox. In times past, it marked the beginning of a new quarter and new year for business, making contracts, starting school or electing officials.

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