|Salt Fork Forest Preserve|
"Yet one smile more, departing, distant sun!One mellow smile through the soft vapory air,Ere, o'er the frozen earth, the loud winds run,Or snows are sifted o'er the meadows bare.One smile on the brown hills and naked trees,And the dark rocks whose summer wreaths are cast,And the blue gentian-flower, that, in the breeze,Nods lonely, of her beauteous race the last.Yet a few sunny days, in which the beeShall murmur by the hedge that skirts the way,The cricket chirp upon the russet lea,And man delight to linger in thy ray.Yet one rich smile, and we will try to bearThe piercing winter frost, and winds, and darkened air."
- William Cullen Bryant
While we have had more than our fair share of sunny days, we did have a hard frost last Thursday that signalled the end for all but a few hardy annuals and perennials. This late coneflower apparently got confused and missed the announcement that the Coneflower Show is held here in July.
Besides the frost, last week we had days of strong winds that stripped many of the trees of their leaves. Always the procrastinator, I waited too long to take the perfect photos I wanted for Dave's Fall Color Project. I did manage to take a shot of the golden leaves of the ash tree next to our house, featured on my Bloom Day post.
This shrub with bright red berries was a common sight along the path. At first I thought it was a dogwood, but the leaves are opposite rather than alternate. Can anyone identify it? Update--it's a bush honeysuckle, a very invasive plant, which explains why there were so many of them. Thanks, Gail, for the i.d.--bloggers are the best!
Faded red leaves drooping on another plant reminded me of sumac, but again I'm not sure. Bright red sumac dots the roadsides in our area in early autumn.
The fall colors may not be as deep and striking this year because of the hot, dry summer, but it's been a glorious autumn nevertheless.