Leaves and Seeds

Dear Liza,

Fall is the time for endings and beginnings. The trees teach us that, and here in our neighborhood I have lots of teachers!

It’s Conker season!

The huge oaks and chestnut trees are shedding their leaves, which have danced all summer long.

Sweet chestnuts and acorns

They are casting their collective futures to the wind as seeds come clonking to the ground. Acorns, chestnuts, fir cones, and tiny maple helicopters fall and fly and eventually pile up, hoping to find just the right place to take root.

Golden Rain tree with its maraca-seed pods

I think it is fitting that our human institutions are tied to this idea of endings and beginnings. Summer ends, school starts. Elections allow for new directions for our city and country.

Time for a change!

Happy Fall!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Evening Walk in Laurelhurst

Dear Liza,

In case you missed me and my blog over the weekend, I have decided that I will only be posting on weekdays, and taking weekends off. I am feeling like I’m so busy writing about life, I’m not having time to DO life. But for now…

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Firwood Lake reflections

We are at the part of Fall where it can be warm during the day, cool in the evening, but still light enough to walk after dinner. If I am quick to get out and careful, I can take some nice photos.

In the neighborhood around Laurelhurst Park, there are signs of Fall everywhere. Leaves changing, seed pods doing amazing things, squash and pumpkins swelling and getting fat for Halloween, crows scavenging.

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Seed pod magic

Sitting by Firwood Lake, the pond inside the park, I kept seeing reflections and shadows, trying to channel my inner Monet.

Dahlias, one of Auntie Bridgett’s favorite flowers, are still blooming, catching the lower light in their dense petals.IMG_0583.jpg

And, of course, chestnuts! The scary-muppet looking ones that you can eat, and the studded-motorcycle-jacket ones that you can’t are both falling like rocks from trees all over the neighborhood. Keep your hats on!

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CAN eat…sweet chestnut!

And, as Edith Ann used to say, that’s all I have to say about that.

Love,

Grandma Judy

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CAN’T eat…horse chestnut!

Thinking about Birds (2)

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Dear Liza,

Today the weather changed from sunny and cold to dark and cold…the sky was a flat grey, and all the bare trees were silhouettes against the sky. After a long morning of studying history, I went out walking, to see what I could see.

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Trees against the grey sky

 

 

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Rose Hips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I heard dozens of tiny birds chirping, and saw them swooping low between the bushes. As soon as I stopped or got close, they would freeze and become invisible. I stood as still as I could, but they knew I was there. I was lucky to get one picture from the birds who flew by.

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Then I started wondering, what do these tiny birds eat in the winter? There is no more fruit on the trees, and the worms must all have gone into hibernation by now. As I looked more closely in the yard where they had been so busy, I saw them: seeds. Hundreds of tiny seeds on plants which become beautiful in a very different way this time of year. Most of the seeds were so small, they didn’t show up in pictures!

Abundant rose bushes, full of color and grace in summer in this City of Roses, have become stark sticks with bright orange rose hips. The seed pod of the rose, these are full of food for the wintering birds.

Thousands of cones from the Douglas Fir (Oregon’s State Tree) lay all over the neighborhood, and are swarmed over and pecked at by more tiny birds.

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Pink berries

As I walked and looked carefully, I saw that many of the bushes had tiny seeds still clinging to their branches. I guess it makes sense; the birds wouldn’t be here if there was nothing for them to eat.

I am glad I went out walking to see yet another part of this wonderful city!

Love,

Grandma Judy