Walking is a wonderful way to observe the world. Taking photos of interesting sights is a wonderful way to create memories of an object, a place, or a moment in time. This post is the first in my photo walk series. My goal is to illustrate items, scenes, and events that I observe during my walks in British Columbia and to share some thoughts about them.
In this edition of the series, I celebrate views of nature that I found near my home in the last few days. Many leaves have fallen by now, but some persist. Those on a few trees have barely changed colour. I know they’ll transform their appearance and drop to the ground before winter comes. Perhaps they’re saving the moment for a grand finale to autumn.
Though the trees near my home put on a lovely show in autumn, the fungi are also interesting. Fall is the best time of year to see mushrooms. They often surprise me by suddenly appearing in areas that I investigated not long ago. The Amanita mushrooms above are attractive but poisonous. Their colour ranges from yellow to bright red.
Mushrooms are a great reminder of the invisible activity in the soil or in a log or tree stump. The thread-like hyphae of a fungus spread through the substrate, releasing digestive enzymes into the environment and then absorbing nutrients. The mushrooms are the reproductive structures of the fungi. They release spores, which germinate to produce hyphae in a new area. Though I know these facts in theory, the appearance of mushrooms “brings it home to me”, as the saying goes.
I think that yellow leaves illuminated by sunlight and backed by a blue sky make a lovely sight. Though the two deciduous trees in the photo above have lost lots of their leaves, their seemingly skeletal remains are still alive. I sometimes have to remind myself of this fact during the coldest and wettest part of winter. I look forward to the production of new leaves in the spring as the trees regenerate.
British Columbia has lots of coniferous trees, so we have some greenery during the winter. The trees are dark green, though. We miss the vibrant colours of nature in winter. The relatively mild winter climate in the southwestern part of the province allows a few colourful plants to be grown in gardens and landscaped areas, however. They’re always interesting to see.
Though some people may find red leaves the most attractive ones in autumn, I often prefer the yellow ones. I love the golden glow of the leaves in the sun. It’s such a cheerful sight. The colourful leaves of autumn always seem like a plant is giving me (and other people) a “farewell for now” gift before a winter rest and then a busy spring. The idea is reinforced as the leaves drift or are blown to the ground.
Looking down can be just as interesting as looking up during a nature walk. Chestnut leaves and fruits, maple leaves, feathery yarrow leaves (which are still doing well at the moment), and grass can be seen in the photo above. I didn’t alter the position of any item in the photograph. Nature is very capable of creating an attractive scene by herself.
The sweet gum trees planted in landscaped areas have lost a lot of their leaves by now, but some persist. They are a lovely shade of red. The spiky fruits or gum balls still hang from the branches. The tree is an interesting and often attractive plant, though some people find the gum balls annoying.
I’ve collected some gum balls and plan to use them in crafts. Some people make Christmas ornaments from them, which seems like a nice idea. I’ll probably collect more of the fruits in the near future. Sweet gum trees grow in several park-like settings near my home. so lots of gum balls are available.
I took the photos in this article very recently, with the exception of the one above. The trail shown in the photo is the one where I took the rest of the photos. They weren’t all taken in the same part of the trail, however. The path runs through a suburban area and is divided into sections separated by crossings over residential roads. Each section has slightly different features. They are all bordered by plants, but some borders are wilder than others. All of them enable me to observe both cultivated plants and wild ones during my neighbourhood walks. The journey is always enjoyable.