Along Montauk Highway, I noticed a large portion of the Bayard Cutting Arboretum State Park that I haven’t toured. I bounded north out of the parking lot while most people were heading in the opposite direction toward the main house.
I walked among magnificent mature specimens of oak, beech, and sycamore. Mushroom caps have taken advantage of a recent heavy rainfall. Latent mycelium has waited for moisture and they have responded. It is good to see mushrooms in the fall which is their busy time.
I stopped to pick up exfoliated pieces of sycamore bark thinking I might be able to do something with them artistically as I have with browned, curled rhododendron leaves. (I have photographs here of a few that I’ve made.)
Robins hopped about on many of the trails. I heard yellow-shafted flickers chittering in the canopy. This walk turned to be a wonderful way to kick off the fall season – my 76th.
I found a bench to rest, have lunch, write, and observe. A placid pool reflected the sky. For me, this was paradise. I was alone with a lone catbird that cried in a tupelo tree. It’s leaves were turning red already. A scolding bluejay’s rasping call added spice to a peaceful early afternoon. In the hazy sunlight under a white pine tree, concentric circles on the pool surface attracted my attention. Two mallard ducks dunked and dipped. I made some “swish” sounds, staying still and only moving my eyeballs. I was able to attract a curious catbird. But, once it spotted me, it was off.
While I came here for the trees, I forgot about the rhododendron groves. I collected more dried leaves for a texture project. Using old cedar cigar boxes, I’m gluing leaves in various patterns for objects to hang.
In a sun drenched patch of goldenrod, lots of insect activity; bees wasps, flies are all agitated and energized by the scent of aerosoled nectar and bright yellow flowers.
Remnants of summer will hold on for several weeks. Ocean temperatures are still warm. Swimmers bounce the breakers and small shorebirds fly south along the edge. Least sandpipers scamper up and down the swash zone poking bills to find food. Although tomatoes are ripening slower, I’ve seen some red maples in fall color that act as an early warning that fall is here.
The great lawn was mowed to look like the grassy outfields of professional baseball fields – lovely texture patterns of grass in bright warm early afternoon sunshine.
In an alcove next to the kitchen on the main building, I enjoyed three huge baskets of ferns and below, in the garden, a new species of goldenrod. I call it a successful day if I can identify a new species. This one is called Wandlike Goldenrod with long, skinny stalks of flowers that gently swish and swash in a gentle breeze.