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After visiting the oncologist today, Garry and I stopped at the supermarket to pick up a couple of things. It’s the end of the month, which means we’re out of money. I figured even so, we could afford the few little items we need.

Across the street from Hannaford, there’s a maple tree. Last year, it was stunning.


This year, the same tree …


This was taken a week ago, so there’s a bit more color now, but not much. On the way to the store from the car, I commented to the woman next to me that the maple tree across the road was scarlet last year at this time.

“Yep,” she says. “Gonna be a brown fall. It’s been so dry.”

“I’ll say,” I reply. “The well is low. We have no water pressure.”

“Tell me about it,” she says, frowning. “It’s supposed to rain tomorrow.”

“So they say. Hope they’re right this time.”

“Don’t we all,” she says, as we go inside and grab a couple of carts.

Garry and I were down at the creek a couple of days ago. It sure didn’t look much like autumn in New England.

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This is one of the places we go to shoot often enough that we know all the angles. Where to stand. Where you can safely put your gear down and leave it while you roam.

Every once in a while, we get lucky and we encounter visiting geese or herons. Big birds enhance our shooting experience. Sometimes, we even bump into humans. The last time we were in this park, it was in a sunny day in the middle of May.


The creek was deep and full. Lots of folks were out enjoying the first warm day of the year. Fishing, kayaking, picnicking. And of course, photographing.

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No people or birds this day. Just us. The creek is too low for kayaks or fishing. Probably too low for fish to even spawn there — this is normally a spawning area for trout — and that means no water fowl because there’s nothing for them to eat.

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The leaves are thinking about changing, but haven’t. Mostly, they are still green with hints of yellow or pinkish red. It is possible we aren’t going to have a really splendid season this year. We’ve had three glorious autumns in a row … perhaps this is going to be a not-so-glorious one.

A beautiful autumn has requisite conditions. Enough — but not too much — rain. A cold snap, at least at night, with temperatures close to freezing at least briefly. But we’ve had almost no rain and it’s very warm during the day. Warm, muggy, partly sunny, slightly overcast. High cloud cover that don’t look promising. It’s gotten cool at night, but not cold.

I would welcome rain. Even heavy, stormy rain that washes the leaves off the trees. I’d rather have a leafless autumn than an empty well.


The first thing we noticed today was the lack of color. Mostly, the trees are still green. By this time last year, color was bursting on the maple trees.

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Usually, the trees along waterways change color first. Not only first, but also brightest. So we went down to the creek in Harrisville, right across the Rhode Island border. There was a bit more color there than elsewhere, but not a lot.

The next thing we noticed was river bottom. Ground where we had never seen it before. The level of the creek is low. You could not put a boat in the water from the ramp. If you somehow managed to get something into the creek, there isn’t enough water to keep you off the mud.

The drought we are not officially having is worrisome. The entire region is “abnormally dry,” but our little corner of the region is drier still.

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We had no rain at all during August. Almost none in July. Just a day or two in June. Two rain days in late May. That’s very little precipitation for an area that’s a regional watershed.

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We haven’t seen ducks, geese, or swans, nor even a heron. Not since early May.

Maybe the Red Sox will close their season with a 7-game winning streak to finish at .500.  And maybe it will rain next week.


Monthly Photo Challenge: The Changing Seasons 09 – Harvest


Fall does not officially begin until the Wednesday, September 23, the first day of Autumn. That’s the day of the Autumnal Equinox, when days and night are of equal length.


Locally in central Massachusetts, the leaves began turning before August was done, leaving the beginning of September to feel like summer, with temperatures in the nineties and high humidity … while big swathes of the woods are bright yellow.


Full Autumn in New England does not visually arrive until early to mid-October. As we drove into upstate New York, it was obvious that the trees had not changed yet, but were thinking about it.


Two days later, Autumn is rushing in, surrounding golden fields full of corn and barley. Goldenrod and purple asters are everywhere.


So our early changing leaves must be from lack of rain. We had no rain in August, not one measurable rainfall.


About half of the gallery photos were all near my house during the first week of September when the aspens had just turned bright yellow. The rest of the photographs were taken today (September 15th) in and around Cooperstown, New York in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains.

If you live in this region, you know that the color of the leaves changes from month to month — from light golden green in the spring, to the deep green of late summer.


The big water is Lake Otsego, “Glimmerglass” of James Fenimore Cooper. The place in which we are staying is on the shore of the lake.


Cardinal Guzman, the host of this challenge, has totally blown us away with his own galleries this month. Absolutely, go take a look. Amazing photography.


Monthly Photo Challenge: The Changing Seasons 08

This marks the last full month of summer as our world turns, here in the northern hemisphere. August closely resembles July, although the green has deepened.


If you live in this region, you know that the color of the leaves changes from month to month from light golden green in the spring, to this very dark — old green — of late summer. As if the last of the summer months is putting out all the green it has got before the great burst of color in the autumn.

These pictures were all taken during the past week in and around the little town of Uxbridge. The majority of them were shot on the Commons in the middle of town, the remainder either on our property, or along the Mumford River which runs through town.


Most of them were shot with the Pentax Q7, the little camera that can and does.

In case you don't think climate change is real, this is the might Mumford river.

If you think climate change is not real, this is what is left of the mighty Mumford river.

Cardinal Guzman, the host of this challenge, has totally blown us away with his own galleries this month. Absolutely, go take a look. Amazing photography.


I fell in love with the Blackstone River when we moved to the valley fifteen years ago. The birds that nest along its length, its canals, tributaries, bridges, ponds. Even the swamps make this one of the most beautiful places in the world. In the autumn, the trees are magnificent.

We have swans and geese, ducks and herons. Turtles, beaver, fishers, and trout — they all live along or in the river. It is a rich and fertile world. Beautiful and ever-changing.