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.
New Hope Creek in parts still looked fresh and green and summery a week ago…but change is coming fast
A dramatically named fruit of the fall: Heart’s-a-Bustin’ (Euonymous americanus)
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.
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”)