My eye was drawn to the above floating Eastern Cottonwood (aka Poplar) leaf because I liked the way the water pooled and darkened the colors in its center. Note how the water beads so its edge is smooth and thick while the leaf’s edge is jagged and thin. The bright morning sky’s reflection in the pond’s surface brings even more contrast as it fights with the muted colors on the dried leaf.
I thought I had captured a unique visual experience until I started to notice other poplar leaves on other days. Damned if it isn’t typical. Note the two smalller clickable samples exhibit the same characteristics. Only the colors and lighting (both photographed at night) are different.
I’ve also noticed these trees drop some leaves as early as mid-July. Those leaves look like brown leather with a semiglossy finish. The leaves that remain on the trees longer, turn yellow and stay matt.
Tourists laugh at those of us who live in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan because, when they ask us for directions or where we live, up pops our right hand and we point somewhere on our palm. It’s a very handy map if we don’t have a Sassafras Tree nearby.
The leaves of sassafras come in three shapes: unlobed, mitten-shaped (both right and left), and trilobed. Both of these photographs are of the same 6′ tall tree that grows beside the millpond boardwalk in Brighton. The bottom photo was taken two weeks ago while the top one was snapped last night. It shows more fall color. Normally, sassafras leaves are an even medium green like the two smallest leaves (below). Either this tree isn’t getting enough sunlight or the soil lacks an important nutrient that has caused the distinctive veined coloration. Otherwise, it looks very healthy.
In Autumn, the vivid red leaves on the burning bushes drop, just like that. Overnight it seems. The color is so vibrant and pure one would expect it to come from a fine arts paint laboratory rather than the hand of nature. Too bad the fallen leaves don’t retain their color all winter. We need it to spice up the winter months.
The berries on this unidentified tree on Brighton’s Main Street passed through a short mauve phase. It’s an odd, artificial looking color as they move toward a blue-violet at maturity. The reddish cast on the autumn leaves is interesting, too.
Michigan seagulls never see the sea. We don’t see many ring-billed gulls at the millpond until late summer. Their numbers increase in parking lots (seas of cement) around the same time. They steal bread chunks tossed at millpond ducks and scraps discarded from meals eaten in parking lots. They swoop, scoop and swallow. It’s a pleasure to watch them in action. They’re rude, opportunistic bandits, but they clean up the place. Guard your Big Mac or it will fly away.
At the still point of the turning world. … <snip>
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
– T.S. Eliot
Humans created constellations in the sky to satisfy their need to find order even when none exists. The momentary pause of these leaves suggest notations for an autumn ballet to me.
The millpond bench seats are closely spaced rods so rain doesn’t puddle. but they act like strainers when it comes to oak leaves. You’ve seen one of these benches before and you’ll find them a major prop as Words4It grows.
Note: The format of this blog doesn’t lend itself to vertical images so, when I post one, it will usually be a thumbnail linked to a larger, more detailed image that opens in a new window.
Steeling the Sky The green goes, most of it.
The blue follows, most of it.
For a brief time, the colors of fire
Then they leave, too, most of them.
When the sky turns to steel
and the still water darkens,
the lace of branches
suspend swatches of fire
for a moment.
Afterward, subtleties hint
at what was there.
Coppers and bronzes and
grays dipped in oxidized wine.
That’s all that
Copyright: Douglas Alden Peterson, 2009 – All Rights Reserved
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Douglas Peterson Brighton, Michigan Artist • Designer
Writer • Illustrator
You'll find information about the resident ducks, geese, swans, and critters who reside in the Brighton, Michigan mill pond. I slip in art and poetry, but the prime focus is my photos of wildlife and plants.
There are thousands of pictures and stories about nature at the Brighton, Michigan millpond. Use the links at the bottom of all pages to see "Older Entries" and "Newer Entries." Use the Search feature (top right corner of all pages) to find specific topics.