Impressions of Autumn

More so than summer or winter, fall is a time of rapid change in the northern latitudes, especially in the long shadow of the Rockies.

Light disappears at both ends of the day. Colours abound. Rain drops freeze overnight and moths no longer come to the window.

Photographs of vivid sweeping landscapes are popular this time of year. As for me, I’m drawn to out-of-the-way spots where Autumn reveals herself in different ways.

Leaves on the forest floor

Dried grass in shadow and light

Wild rose leaves on the forest floor

Dried grass on the edge of the forest

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Bees Need Not Apply

Colourful flowers, sweet perfume, honeyed nectar — like a savvy marketer’s plan, they’re designed to attract business: bee business.

Bees and other animals are essential for pollination. No pollination? No apples or oranges. No almonds, blueberries or broccoli. Forget grapes, kiwi, potatoes, tomatoes and watermelon. Your plate would be empty.

Not so wellknown is the other side of this life-sustaining coin: wind pollination.

Anemophily (if you like new words) gives us wheat, rice, rye, corn and barley. Think pine, spruce, fir, oak. Toss in the grasses and sedges. All this and more depends on wind to disperse pollen.

Even a dragonfly’s wings can loose the light, dry grains and send them journeying. Pump up the speed with a passing car and imagine how far they could go.

Those purple dangles in the photo? Pollen producers (anthers, for the botanist). They’re not as colourful on many plants but they’re there.

Check out a ditch or a lawn this week. Surprise yourself.