Friday, August 18, 2006

Early Splashes of Color: August

I've mentioned it plenty of times, how August bears the very first signs of autumn. Easily overlooked, I wouldn't be surprised to find that many of my southern blog readers had a raised brow at such a declaration, as the casual observer seldom notices such changes on their daily wanderings.

I personally, am finding it hard to grasp the fact that it's already past the middle point in our eighth month, but the proof is in the skies. I noticed huge lines of Barn Swallows gathered along the telephone lines, bulging from feeding on the bounty of insect life provides. They zip across the tops of the high grass, scooping up bugs with their broad bills. This is precise timing, because the insect world is most bountiful JUST before the migration season. The energy will be well used, probably propelling these guys down south below thousands of miles away from the barn they called home since May.

On this particular days hike (only a few hours after my jaunt to Tytoona Cave), I opted to visit my "special place", where I came across a familiar piece of old farm equipment, decades and decades old, if not older. I've passed this spot inumerable times, but a semi-severed branch revealed a color frame for the long-abandoned farming equipment.


Here and there, all day that day I'd come across a yellowing leaf, or a spark of color on a single branch among the ridge of still green oaks, maples, sassyfrass, and poplars.

Sure, the color is few and far between, but a lack of rain has helped things along a bit, despite the blazing heat.


Fungi infested log beside a stand of sycamore...




Despite the fall colors, they are definitely a minority among the green mountains. Here is a scene of some of the beautiful Pennsylvania ridgetops that I stare out upon on each hike to this spot:


Summer still has her hold, but as mentioned so many times before, I can see autumn seeping into the forest slowly. Try not to blink, or you might miss it.