Sunday, August 26, 2012

Between Seasons

Took a Sunday drive up to Brady's Camp near Argentine Peak, hoping to find some late summer wildflowers.  Having trouble letting go of summer.  We saw a few Penstemon and Rabbitbrush on the way up, but mostly dry and brown everywhere - except for the evergreens, of course.  Heard rumors there were still lots of flowers blooming at Brady's Camp.  Maybe last week, but not today.  The creeks were bone dry. So, I just tried harder to find interesting photos.  A large Crimson Columbine bush fit the bill.  There were a few wilted blossoms on it to provide some color, and there were seed pods in various stages from still green and closed (top photo), to brown ones with open tops revealing the mature seeds, to empty ones that had already lost their seeds.  The mature seeds are shiny black and quite impressive, aesthetically.  Reminded me of miniature deer poop. 
We knew the old Argentine Lookout was in bad shape, having visited last summer.  But, it's still there, inviting someone to get hurt and sue the government for leaving it there.  Whether the lookout is eventually demolished or not, it's still an exhilarating place to visit.  Great rock formations and views down to recognizable places along Highway 70.  Always fun to look back on Quincy and realize how small we are.  Met an old codger from Oklahoma, a Viet Nam veteran who said he was a traveling man, trying to see all the beautiful places he could in his remaining days.  He said this spot was among his favorites.  Had some pretty good stories, too.  He had a closer encounter with three Sasquatches in Alaska and a Black Mamba at the edge of the highway near Santa Barbara.  I wondered if it was Viet Nam or Oklahoma that caused these hallucinations, or if he was just having fun with me.  AS we descended the beautiful rock stairway from the lookout, I took a few shots in the direction of Sierra Buttes, always a dramatic presence on the southern skyline.  Then a little more exploring in Brady's Camp where I photographed the remains of Leopard Lilies and Corn Lilies that had bloomed several months ago.  All in all, an interesting trip which helped me get used to the period "between seasons."  Here, as a photographer, that means between summer flowers and fall colors.  I remember a similar period when I lived at Tahoe.  For most residents it seemed to be a depressing period between summer water sports and winter skiing.  It might have had something to do with the flow of money.  Being a teacher at the time, September and October paid the same as mid-winter, so I was happy.  When one pays close attention to nature, all seasons have their attractions.  I'm thankful for that.

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