Fall Textures and Colors

There’s a low spot on a particular Adams County gravel road which I have come to appreciate. A mailbox stands alone right at a bend in the road without a presumably associated house anywhere in sight. It’s a quiet place and I stop there every day to take a break and stretch my legs:

It’s a modest and unassuming place. You can’t see around the bend; one day I’ll walk farther, but for the time being I am enjoying the mystery of not knowing. Who knows what might be around that bend? Perhaps there is a view which would be irrecoverably life-altering…

Towards the right, back behind the mailbox, is a brushy draw. The other day I walked over there to see what wonders might be concealed therein. The first thing I saw was an example of one of my favorite fall colors in this area, the unique shade common to this fallen Virginia Creeper leaf and several other plants such as the sumacs. Could this hue be called a “lake”? I’m thinking of this definition of the word:

A purplish red pigment prepared from lac or cochineal.

Interesting that both lac and cochineal are substances derived from insects.

Here’s a fall texture shot. I was impressed by the semi-regular pattern formed by the random arcing growth of smartweed flowering shoots (a Polygonum species) and the blades of various shade-suppressed grasses.

A twin-trunked soft maple had fallen into the draw, a victim of That Which Awaits All Living Organisms, including you, kind reader!

I made my way into the shady draw to investigate some sort of bracket fungi slowly but inexorably feeding upon the trunks. I’m familiar with the species, which for some unaccountable reason weeps amber tears when its youth has flown and the making of spores has become less of an issue. I later determined that the Latin name might be Inonotus dryadeus; it’s almost certainly that species or a related one.

I became curious as to the appearance of the underside of the bracket-like growths. A gap between the trunks looked large enough to accommodate my skinny frame, so I positioned myself on my back between the trunks. A thick bed of dry fallen leaves made the spot comfortable and I was briefly tempted to take a nap there, but the possibility that I might slumber on through the decades and awaken to a diminished and overcrowded world caused me to reign in my somnolent impulses.

Here are some close-up shots of the fungi, which pretended to be unaware of my presence:

Doesn’t the above photo look like some sort of protoplasmic being attempting to evolve a hand? I liked the highlights in the shot.

This photo impressed me mainly due to the planet-like gall next to the fungus, with random vegetative debris seemingly arranged around it in an artful fashion:

I extricated myself from the comfortable log cradle and reluctantly went on my way.



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Filed under Natural History, Photos, Quincy

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