Nature Rambles

Last Gasp on New Hope Creek
by Ian Markham -- October 3rd, 2014

Perhaps a slightly misleading title I’ve given there… Star Wars fans might have images of Lord Vader force-choking rebel freedom fighters springing to mind, rather than gentle walks beside a babbling brook. But the dying breath I witnessed here was not that the dark side’s victims but of a more ever-present force: the changing of the seasons.

I realized as I wandered along New Hope creek in the Korstian division of the Duke Forest that indeed I was looking at the last gasps of summer. The leaves which just a week ago looked so dense, dark, green and lush are rapidly yellowing, thinning, some becoming almost translucent. As a recent resident of the relatively season-less San Francisco Bay Area the changeability of this place never fails to surprise me.

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New Hope Creek in parts still looked fresh and green and summery a week ago…but change is coming fast

 

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A dramatically named fruit of the fall: Heart’s-a-Bustin’ (Euonymous americanus)

 

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Despite the decidedly tortoisey vibe, this little guy is indeed a terrestrial turtle… An Eastern Box turtle in fact!

 

 

Unlike his smaller cousin I found first, no amount of coaxing could convince this guy that I wasn’t going to try to eat him. I even sat and read a paper at a safe distance but after 45minutes this was as much trust as I could earn. Can’t blame him too much though since its probably this patient paranoia that got this guy to almost double the size of the first box turtle.

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Hard to believe that in a few short weeks these will all be yellows and reds and after that, leafless. As much as I look forward to the fall colours, if sticking those floating leaves back on the trees and painting ’em green could convince the warm weather to stay, I would strongly consider it.

The fallen leaves floating on the surface foreshadow a leafless winter to come.

One thing is clear…Autumn is coming…

(You know that’s not nearly as scary sounding as “Winter”)

 

1 Comment

  1. Patricia Conrad
    Oct 4, 2014

    Intriguing intro, lovely description and compelling photos. You’re off to a great start with this blog. I’m ‘hooked’! Can’t wait for the next installment.

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