It was a pleasant, brightly sunny and cool day - perfect for a hike. Dylan was, as usual, very eager to go. We didn't have much time, so we opted for a quick walk along the section just west of the Cottons Road crossing. This allowed us to revisit the log that Dylan and I found during our hike in September. The tiny creatures burrowing into it had kept busy; sawdust was still raining out of the holes, of which I think none were more than a millimeter in diameter.
As usual, Grace and I were gratified to tell Dylan stories about the natural world. I showed him some hops and told him about how lots of people around here used to work picking them for the brewing of beer. The teasel gave me the opportunity to tell him the story of how people once used them to raise the nap on wool. And he showed me a particularly interesting rock.
It seemed that the season had conspired to create a palette that was bittersweet and intimate: curlicued teasel towered stolidly against the vibrant blue sky; the umber and russet of the maples and the rioting reds, yellows and greens of the sumac stood out against the fields, striped with austere yellow bands of crisped sweet corn and still-green bands of grass and clover; brilliant ruby apples hung from their green island in a spuming grey-brown sea of spent goldenrod.