Sounds of Autumn

The sun warms my back, the wind cools my hair.

I photograph leaves that soon won’t be there.

Shushing and rustling cottonwood leaves,

Some cling to life in the stiffening breeze.

Others have flown, for the chilly night air

Has sent them a warning. “Oh trees, do beware.

The harsh days are coming; it’s time to prepare.

Your fluttering whispering dresses of gold

Must leave you alone now to suffer the cold.

But fear not, for soon you will warm up again.

New dresses will grow in the coming spring’s rain.”

 

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The video clip is of ten seconds in Montana. The wind is rumbling a bit in the microphone and the Captain is calling Ruby with his whistle, but the main thing I love about the clip is the sound of the wind in the leaves. It’s best if you make it full screen and you can almost feel as if you are there under the trees. Be sure to turn on the sound. That’s what it’s all about.

 

 

 

Turning Seasons

The colours of fall are amazing. As we drove through Montana on our way back to the coast, the brown hills near Missoula impressed us with their brilliant deciduous growth in the valley bottoms.

Even before learning the name of the huge trees with almost black bark, I have loved the look of the black cottonwoods. In Montana’s ever-present breeze the leaves whisper soothingly. It does the soul good just to stand quietly under one of these trees, close your eyes and listen.

I don’t know what the red shrubs are that don’t mind getting their feet wet in the creeks and rivers, but I saw the same shrubs growing in the small waterways of southern British Columbia as we drove home. dscn7290If I were a painter, I wouldn’t hesitate to set up my easel here.dscn7288Or here! I love the white bark on the trees below. Are they birch? Poplar? I don’t know, but they’re beautiful.

Notice how yellow and brown the grass is. It’s usually fairly dry here.dscn7296

Now see how green the grass is in the photo below. We are on the coast and the wet weather reminds us that we’re nearly home. That tree floating in the bay is a Douglas fir that was washed away from the banks of the river and has floated all the way into the estuary. It was a very tall tree, although it may be hard to tell from the photo. I later saw this same tree in a video clip someone posted to the weather network.

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Just a couple more miles to home. We’ve driven past flooded fields and a cresting river. So glad we live on high ground.

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Pipeline or Railway?

When I see a long, long train of tankers carrying crude oil, I have the pipeline vs. railway argument with myself all over again. You can see that this train is in town. It stayed there for days.

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Right in the middle of the busy traffic area in town, this train and its load of oil products sat. Maybe it was empty, but I still wouldn’t have wanted to throw in a match.dscn6836a

When I have to stop at a railway crossing for one of these long fuel trains, I hope that this is not the time it will derail and barbecue me.dscn6884aCan you imagine if in the three or four days that this train sat without budging right in the middle of town, something had gone wrong — maybe a second train coming on the wrong track — what a disaster that could be? dscn6842a

I thought of the poor victims at Lac Megantic and wondered if maybe a pipeline really is a better solution. I don’t know, but these trains worry me.

Old Church

This old church stands on a bit of a rise at the side of the highway in a small, very small, Montana town. Isn’t it interesting how churches are often on a hill? I think there are three reasons for this: It can be seen by all and act as a reminder to come to church, the church can be seen as reaching towards God, and the nearby cemetery  is always well above the high water mark. dscn7040

The building is in the process of being restored. Some of the windows are boarded up where the panes have been broken. The main roof has a new skin of steel over it, but you can still see the original asphalt shingles on the steeple roof.

I wondered if the building was empty, so I put my camera up to one of the windows and took the photo below.

dscn7045Then it occurred to me that it was a church and the doors should always be open, so I went inside. The eight pews inside would hold 64 people if you squeezed in eight to a row, but more likely six to a row would be more comfortable for a maximum of 48 people. dscn7046In the back the piano still sits there. I was a bit disappointed that it wasn’t an organ, even the old style of foot pedal organ, but at least they had music. The next thing I noticed was the very uncomfortable chair the pianist would have to use.

Not pictured, at the back of the room, some hymnals were boxed up, and I saw mention of the word Pentecostal. Maybe the denomination of the church was Pentecostal.
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I’m not a churchgoer, but for the sake of tradition and culture, I’m glad this building is being preserved.

***I may not be able to answer comments for a few days as I’ll be without Internet, but I will respond as soon as I get a connection. Please do leave your comments in the meantime and thanks for visiting.

Oh, Deer, What Big Ears You Have!

Don’t bother. They’re too far away.

But the camera will bring them in.

Not worth it.

We’ll see.

dscn6735Okay, I had to admit they were too far away for good clear pictures, but the alternative was no pictures at all.

The mule deer buck in the photo below is saying to his lady friend, “Aw, come on. Don’t be like that! … All right, I’m sorry.”dscn6738“Did you hear that?”

“It’s nothing. Just an old lady with a camera.”dscn6742How many deer do you see? I see two. One normal one and another with two bums.dscn6745Here’s a pretty one, getting ready to leave.dscn6750She turns to say one last goodbye to me, flaps her mule-like ears and is gone.dscn6752

Harris’s Sparrow

Where could she be? … What in blazes is keeping her so long? dscn6806I’m sure I told her to meet me at this thorny bush next to the Russian olive trees.
dscn6808It’s darned breezy sitting up here waiting for her.dscn6811

WHO in blazes is THAT she bringing over? NOT that DANDY! Doesn’t she know he’s a real birdbrain?dscn6809

Well, what can you do? She’ll get over her little infatuation in a while. But should I hang around for her? I didn’t know she was so flighty. I suppose I’ll have to fly south without her by my side. Maybe she’ll be over him “By the time I get to Phoenix.” (Thank you, Jimmy Webb.)dscn6807a

The Calico Cat

When the Captain and ten-year-old Ruby went for a pheasant walk through the fields, the first thing they scared up was a beautiful calico cat who was also hunting by the side of the road. Ruby was startled and made a few leaps in the cat’s direction but the Captain called her back. I was surprised to see that Ruby was so quick to obey when the chase instinct must have been strong.dscn6774a

The cat was taking no chances and leaped up into the safety of a nearby cottonwood, and there she stayed, long enough for me to get some pictures anyway.  dscn6790a

As I zoomed the camera in, I noticed what a pretty cat this was. Not just your run-of-the-mill stray hunter.dscn6789a

And what gorgeous green eyes she had! I wanted to ask her to move her head so that twig wasn’t in front of her face but she wasn’t budging. She was safe in the tree and that’s where she would stay until all danger was past.dscn6788aI didn’t want to think about the baby birds she might have killed this spring. I preferred to think about the mice she catches so the prairies won’t be overrun with them.

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The calico cat

Is not getting fat

But she’s keeping the prairies clean.

Oh mouse, you should run.

For the kitty, it’s fun

Though I’m sure you would think she is mean.

The calico cat

Has no cozy mat

By the fireplace, safe in a house.

She still needs to eat

And she’s quick on her feet,

So run for your life, little mouse.