Winter color

“The color, we say, is gone, remembering vivid October and verdant May. What we really mean is that the spectacular color has passed and we now have the quiet tones of Winter around us, the browns, the tans, a narrower range of greens, with only an occasional accent in the lingering Winter berries. But the color isn’t really gone.
The meadow is sere tan, but that is a tan of a dozen different shades from gold to russet. The fallen leaves have been leached of their reds and yellows, but theirs is no monotone by any means. The bronze curve of the goldenrod stem emphasizes the ruddy exclamation point of the cattail. The rough brown bark of the oak makes the trunk of the sugar maple appear armored in rusty iron. The thorny stalk of the thistle stands beside the cinnamon seed head of the pungent bee balm. Dark eyes stare from the white parentheses of the stark birches, bronze tufts of one-winged seeds tassel the box elder, miniature “cones” adorn the black-brown alders at the swamp’s edge.
In the woods, the insistent green of Christmas fern and partridgeberry leaf compete with the creeping ancients, ground cedar and running pine. Hemlock, spruce and pine trees cling to their own shades of green, individual as the trees themselves. And on their trunks are paint patches of the ancient lichen, tan and red and blue and green, like faint reflections of vanished floral color.
The color is still there, though its spectrum has somewhat narrowed. Perhaps it takes a Winter eye to see it, an eye that can forget October and not yearn for May too soon.”
-Hal Borland, Sundial of the Seasons
(still my favorite book in the world!)
I love the way this author makes me stop to notice or puts a name to the things that grab my attention. Always there’s something to learn from Borland’s observations.
Anyone recognize the flower in this pic?

4 thoughts on “Winter color”

  1. You credit the author Borland with making you aware? Huh, here I was thinking how much YOU make me aware of nuances in nature.

  2. Laura: Flower ID? Well, I’m thinking it’s perhaps the leftovers of a daisy fleabane kind of flower.

    Nic quote from Borland, too. Thanks!

    Carolyn H.

  3. Flower ID – nope. Borland never spent a few days in the gray drab of the Pacific NW during the 6 long weeks around the winter solstice. That’s why there is Hawaii!

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