Saturday, September 20, 2008

In search of color...

Tomorrow is "Color Sunday" here on the Grand Mesa, which sits on the east side of our valley. Color Sunday is supposed to be when the aspen are at their peak of fall color. When the naturalists were in charge of deciding when Color Sunday would be, based on weather and what they could actually see happening in the trees, the drive over the Mesa on that day would be gorgeous and breath-taking. But now 'activity directors' have been making the choice, and have decided that it should always be the third Sunday in September. They have missed peak color badly since they made that decision. The aspen are not changing much at all yet. It will be another good week, and probably more like two-three weeks, before they reach peak color.

We went up to our cabin for the night and the past day-and-a-half. The undergrowth is turning, but our aspen grove is still summer green. Well, green is a color, I guess. It did rain today, and when we left, it did look like the aspen on the other side of the lake had changed a bit more. But in a few weeks, this will be a golden glow of a mountain.

We saw a group (a flock? a cast? a covey? a parliament? an unkindness? a kettle?) of birds which we couldn't readily identify from a distance, down by the lake. Then this afternoon as we were leaving a huge osprey swept past, a fish in his beak. We saw it land in a tree close to the road, so stopped to watch it until it flashed over the lake away from us. We have never seen osprey there! I looked them up on Wikipedia, and this picture looks just like the one we saw. We have seen many of them in Wyoming and Montana, and it seems they migrate to South America, so they must just be passing through our way. How lucky we were to see them!

It is the beginning of hunting season, so the deer are heading into the park to avoid their human predators. The fat chipmunks and speedy, swarming ground squirrels were also very active, stealing as many of the sunflower seeds we put out for the birds as they could fill their little cheeks with. The ground below the feeder looked like it was alive, there were so many of the little thieves.
So, OK, ... I know these posts are often not about my art. But what is art without observation? The natural world has always been fodder for the creative artist's imagination. No input, no output...

Wooster update: Thanks to all of you who have expressed concern for Wooster! He is doing much better. The cabin is his favorite place on earth; he turns back into a puppy there. He forgot he was 'sick' there this weekend, went exploring to his favorite spots and took all his usual sniffing rambles. He only had problems when he wanted to go up the stairs. It was hard to believe he was the same dog we thought we would lose last weekend! He still stumbles a bit, especially after he shakes his head. We're pretty sure what he had was an inner ear thing that older dogs get, but he seems to be recovering. Good old boy!

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