passiflora lutea

Making the Most of Fleeting Beauty

I can refuse my beloved Sigyn nothing, so here we are again, crunch, crunch, crunch, enjoying the little bit of fall color and drifting leaves that the thirtieth parallel affords.

The Virginia creeper seems to be trying to outdo all the other vines.

If it doesn’t feel like being red, sometimes it will opt for copper.

And if that doesn’t do it, there’s always the gradient effect.

About the only color it doesn’t do is lemon yellow. Good thing the little passionflower has that nailed down.

The trees and shrubs are vying for attention, too. Winged elm can’t seem to decide if it wants to be yellow or orange.

This one has settled on burnt orange,

which should be illegal in a town in which everything is required by law to be Aggie Maroon, but whatever.

Farkleberry is adhering to the maroon law as best it can. There are usually some maroon leaves in with the red ones.

(This year the fruits have hung on much longer than normal. Where were the birds that were supposed to have eaten them up over the summer?)

Shining Sumac can be counted on for a consistent, bright red.

SIgyn would be just as happy if everything were this color. I keep trying to explain that if everything were red, nothing would stand out and she’d grow tired of it quickly. She says that might be true but it would be “fun to try it out for a few days.”

The willows down by the mostly-dry-creek have gone enthusiastically yellow.

That photo doesn’t really do them justice.

The hickory, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be trying AT ALL.

Sigyn is trying to comfort it, assuring her that it is loved and valued for its sturdy wood and squirrel-treat nuts and that it is beautiful in its own way. My love, how can you appreciate any fall color with your rose-colored-glasses affixed so firmly to your lovely face?

The Bushy Bluestem has also opted for brown this year.

What it lacks in glamor it makes up in poofiness.

Where foliage fails, the fruit can sometimes be counted on to supply the color deficit. Beautyberry is always happy to provide that color that defies classification.

I don’t know what it looks like on your phone/computer/tablet, etc., but to my eyeballs, it’s a very, very obnoxious fuchsiamagentapurplepink not found anywhere else in nature except a rare species of sea slug that inhabits the waters off of Borneo.

(I made that last bit up. Might be true. Might not. Can’t be arsed to check.)

Greenbriar has luscious-looking fruit.

And let us not have that tiresome argument about whether black is a color or not. This isn’t optics, this is botany, and anyone who has played with the berries, pulling out their rubbery-snot innards to see how far they’ll stretch, can vouch for just how dyed their fingers are for the next day or so. It’s color. Case closed.

Well, this has been a lot of walking and a good deal of dangling and poking. Sigyn, see if you can find us a soft, pretty place to rest before we make the long trip back home.

Is she the best, or what?

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Ha! I was right!

Purple Sea Slug (Chromodoris sp.) | Sea slug, Slugs, Sea

Retirment, Now With More Neeners and a LOT More Dangling

One of the things the human female hopes to accomplish now that she has a lot of “free” time is more exercise. I’m all for exercise, as long as I don’t have to exert myself or sweat. For a Frost Giant, Texas in the summer is not ideal physical fitness time. (Why, oh why isn’t a tall glass of ice-cold lemonade a magical, fat-burning, muscle-building elixir? I should work on that in my free time…)

In any case, walking is something the human female, Sigyn, and I can all agree on, and since we all like to thumb our noses at the LUAs (Large, Ugly Apartments, the one a pond was filled in to construct), a Neener, Neener, Neener Walk along the path meant for residents of the LUAs is a frequent goal. Physical, botanical, and defiant all at once. I like that.

We haven’t gone twenty yards and Sigyn is already squeaking. What is is now, my love?

Oh. I see it. Blue Mist-flower. I agree, dearest. The flower heads do look like little pom-poms or tassels. The human female says the poofy, sticky-outy bits are the “styles.” She didn’t say what style, but I’d say it’s got a Boho-casual feel to it.

This yellow-flowered St. Andrew’s Cross shrub is one of Sigyn’s favorites. Tell us why, Sigyn.

“Its flowers are a very cheerful color, it has interesting shreddy bark, and it is small enough to be easily climbable so I can practice my dangling.” The human female says it’s a close cousin of the medicinal St. John’s Wort. Ugh! Too much talk of saints! I’m better than a saint–I am a god. Talk about me, instead.

More dangling is happening.

This pink-flowered Fuzzy Bean is a very common late-summer plant. It’s related to garden beans, but I don’t think you’d want to eat it. The human female says you can identify it by the fact that, “the keel is pointed and curved just like your horns, Loki.”

I am still trying to work out whether that is a compliment. Possibly I will have to smite her later.

This last plant is one that Sigyn and the human female have been trying to catch in flower for a while now. It is a Yellow Passionflower

We have encountered this plant before, in the local woods, but apparently they never get tired of looking at the blossoms. No blossoms today, but Sigyn thinks the fruits are “cute.”

We have reached the end of the path and the sun is growing hot. Sigyn, my heart, are you not dizzy from so much upsidedownness? Have you dangled sufficiently for one morning? Let us return to the house and work on that revitalizing lemonade…

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