A Walk in the Woodlands: My Photographic Journal
The hot pink blooms of a sassanqua camellia stand out from the fall colors of the woodland trees.
If one were to ask me what my favorite holiday is, I would say Thanksgiving. Even though Christmas decorations and traditional carols are among my favorite things, there is nothing quite like a gathering of family and friends to share a bountiful meal. It is a time of reflection and thankfulness.
I love to cook and eat, so I look forward to a feast with my family and best friends: green salad, butternut squash soup, roasted turkey, garlic mashed potatoes, creamed onions, sweet yams, corn pudding, green beans almondine, traditional celery and onion stuffing, and pumpkin pie - all served with several kinds of wine. Everyone contributes by bringing a personal favorite . It is a special time for sharing traditions and recipes.
After all of the preparation and clean-up, however; I look forward to time outdoors where I can relax and refocus. This is when I grab my camera and head for the oak woodlands in our nearby botanical gardens where I can leisurely stroll and lose myself in the peace and beauty there. Besides the glorious color palette, the forest smells especially woodsy, the leaves crunch underfoot, and I can hear wildlife busily foraging for their winter stockpiles. Ah! there is so much to take in!
Wandering amongst the trees in search of white-spotted towhees to photograph, I follow the break of a twig and the rustle of leaves and instead find a handsome squirrel taking stock of his winter stash. He has stopped to chew a bit. His bushy tail and bright coat tell me that it's been a generous year. I wonder how he can remember where he buries all of his edible treasures!
The rustling of dry leaves leads me to a foraging squirrel!
One of my favorite areas by the koi pond which inspired a spring haiku of mine is now as colorful as an artist's paintbox. The Japanese maples are glorious! Crimson, orange,and yellow-green contrast w/ the gray trunks of the tall oaks. A sassanqua camellia is loaded with rosy blooms. The afternoon reflection of the tree canopy on the water surface has been rippled by two fish swimming in tandem. This creates an interesting tapestry effect against the muddy green bottom. The golden leaf debis that has collected along the edges of the water compliments the red hues of the reflected maples overhead. This is nature's random art at its best! The dazzling amber boughs of the spice bush and viburnum shrubs are laden with clusters of purple and red berries- a feast for the forest creatures as well as my eyes.
The ripples from swimming koi distort a pond's muddy bottom.
Fallen leaves contrast with the tree canopy's reflection in a woodland pond.
The spicebush berries are a colorful feast for the birds, mice, and squirrels.
As I make my way along a narrow beaten path through the ivy back to the road, I notice many clusters of tan fungi in the moist shade but have to stop when I spot bright red-orange toadstools underneath some wild strawberries and brambles. I am thankful that God has given me an eye for detail and the heart to appreciate it. The stone wall along the road is covered with tendrils of fall-colored red and green boston ivy. I am admiring it when I see quick movement and hear the tiny rustle of dried leaves. It takes a bit of focus before I see the small alligator lizard who has taken over an abandoned bird's nest. What a lucky guy!
Colorful toadstools sprout from the forest floor.
An alligator lizard has taken over an abandoned nest.
While walking along the main road out of the gardens, I am able to capture that rare resting moment when a plump sparrow stops to span the area with a quick eye and fine-tuned ear. She bids me good-bye with a shrill "tseek-tseek" as she flies away. It has been a day of rejuventation for me in both mind and spirit and has given me even more reasons to be thankful at this time of the year. I hope you've enjoyed my photographic journal!
A plump female sparrow surveys her surroundings.
© 2011 Catherine Tally
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