Saturday, September 22, 2007

Balduck Park past dusk

A perfect bright red sugar maple leaf lies face up on the ground. Closer inspection reveals yellow, orange, spots of green and brown and a few holes. Perhaps not perfect to some, but perfect to me. My first real autumn leaf. Oh, the ground is littered with yellow leaves and brown, but they fall all summer. This is an autumn leaf with its brilliant red.

And there, still on the bushes, are some red and orange shadbush leaves. Now the yellow leaves have new meaning. There is a faint chill in the air after all that heat we've been having, and a certain freshness—the humidity is lower. And it smells like fall, suddenly.

Crickets are singing and cicadas, too, though not with the same strength and vitality—or volume—as last week. The sky is a clear—but darkening blue, no summer haze today, and the puffy white clouds are tinged with salmon and a little pink, still pale.

The sky darkens, the color in the clouds brightens, the cricket song rises and the cicada song falls. I take a series of photographs of a light ground fog (a faint mist, really) in the trees, and with each shot, I have to lengthen the time exposure. Suddenly, I realize I can see stars. It must be night.

I walk through the dark trees toward the trail. I have no light, but even in the dark woods, there is enough light to see the trail. It's sort of spooky. I can't distinguish the lay of the land, the bumps and dips in the trail are smoothed in the faint light.

My senses come alive in the dark, my vision, though dim in the faint light, seems somehow more acute, the woods are full of smalls, mud, leaves, a rank animal smell, then a dead animal smell. No cicada song at all, but the crickets have risen to a din, yet I can hear the leaves rustling and the sounds of some animal hopping through the bushes nearby.

I come around a corner and my heart leaps to my throat—I jump back. I think I have seen a man standing, legs apart, in a threatening posture. My heart beats wildly, but it is only a stump. I take a deep breath, still feeling a bit fearful, peering around with more concern, and continue on. I spot the moon looking a bit hazy through the leaves of the trees, overhead. It casts strange flickering shadows in the woods. I am not sad when the trees thin, as I often am, but instead, a bit relieved. I'm happy tonight to just head home. I meet another woman walking into the trees, alone, as I walk out. I hope that mean stump doesn't worry her too much.

* * *

I set my little camera on a picnic table in Balduck Park and took some time exposures. This was the best of them.

Here are four maps of Balduck Park, the second one is rotated to fit it in the picture better.

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Rambling Round said...

Looks a bit eery...

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

It was definitely a bit eerie! Downright spooky--it was actually darker than it looks in the photo, because of the time exposure.

lv2scpbk said...

Your park photo caught my attention in the portal. I love these sort of photos with the mysterous look.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Thank you so much. It certainly looked and felt mysterious! :-D

NorthBayPhoto said...

Looks a perfect scene for a Hallowe'en shot! The purplish colour of the sunset filtering thru the trees is great!

Thanks for visiting my NorthBayPhoto blog and for the photo tips.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Thanks, North Bay! :-)

And you're welcome!