Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Blustery Beauty at Blandy

On Saturday and Sunday I had planned a hike and then a paddle but these were both thwarted by intense winds which reduced temperatures so much that I really didn't want to spend too much time outdoors. So instead I worked all day Saturday and Sunday morning, stopping at lunchtime on Sunday, and grabbed my camera to go the short drive to our state arboretum at Blandy.
I've passed this many times and now stopped to take a photo. How cool to have this as your address.
A few of the trees are still grimly hanging on to their leaves but it has to be a losing battle. The winds are so fierce that while driving my windscreen was being constantly hit with leaves that had lost their grip from branches and had given themselves up to being blown wherever the winds would take them..
I arrived at Blandy and wasn't surprised to see only a couple of other cars there.
As I drove around to the back, the ginkgo trees were like a shining mirage across the fields, their golden canopies so bright and beautiful that they seemed artificial. I drove up to them and parked, noticing a couple of folks braving the wind to take a portrait photo of themselves with their two dogs. I left my engine running and stepped out. It was a bitter wind with occasional gusts that roared across and slapped me around. I took some photos and then dove back into Stuart, glad that I'd turned the heater on.
The leaves were beautiful, so bright and yellow, with such a thick carpet of them on the ground that the grass could barely be seen. I almost wished that it had been raining as it would have been wonderful to see glistening drops like diamonds shining on this gold landscape. I made a note to return here next year when they were peaking but thanked my lucky stars that I'd come out today to see them. I'm sure with these winds all the leaves would be down by the next day.With only about a quarter or less of the leaves still on the trees they had made a big impression; I could only wonder how this scene had looked in its full splendor.
The grasses over the other side of the road also caught my attention, waving and bending, the sound of their movement almost sounding like the sea as well as looking like water in motion. I stood and watched for a few moments and then got back into the car.
As I drove around the arboretum I spotted a few others doing the exact same as me, driving slowly in their warm cocoons, then jumping out with cameras when something caught their eye.
This one magnolia flower shone as it perched on top of a lone dark bush. I got out and looked over the whole shrub for other blooms but only this beauty remained, gleaming like a torch. I thought these only bloomed in the spring but after looking it up online, I read that healthy shrubs will sometimes bloom twice in a year.
As I journeyed around the narrow lanes, every now and then a shiny silver glint would glisten on a tree and I realized it was their name tags being blown around by the wind. It added a magical air to the scene, already special with such beautiful bright colors flashing past me, vibrant petals and leaves bourne and blown around by the wind.
I kept stopping the car and getting out each time I saw something to photograph, a lone leaf with the sun shining through, pink thistles and an osage apple lying in the leaves. I was having a hard time trying to get things in focus through my lens as my subjects blew back and forth in front of me, and with my hair adding to the equation, it was downright difficult, but I just kept plugging away, hoping I'd be successful.
I was amazed at how few people were here today but also glad I could enjoy it without having to wait for folks to get out of a shot, or even worse, for them to witness me on hands and knees as I wriggled about trying to get the right angle, sometimes with my nose down in the leaves. It was much warmer on the ground and this vibrant leafy carpet smelled wonderful and earthy. I was a little thankful to spot a guy a few yards away from me sprawled out just like me. Thank God I wasn't the only nutter!
And of course, one mustn't forget to look up. The leaves looked wondrous against the blue sky.
I nearly missed seeing my favorite trees, the Eastern Sycamores. I adore these trees with their white bark enhancing their form in the stark winters. They were hanging onto a few green and orange leaves today that fluttered noisily in the breeze.
Once I had these photos I made it over to the store where I had a lovely conversation with the lady working there. The store is so tiny that it barely fits three people in it but it has some pretty wares. I spotted some very unusual material cabbage leaves that were place mats and bought one to use at my Thanksgiving dinner. A photo will show how at that event. The lady and I chatted about cameras and photography in general. She knew of the camera club there and I hoped she would join us at a meeting. We stood for a while basking in the warm heat thrown out by a small floor heater but goodbyes had to be said, I still had work to do at home. So I bade her farewell and drove home, just managing to get there before the last rays of the sun dipped below the horizon.

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