Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Golden Afternoon

Finally - finally! - the low-lying clouds have burned away and the sun is back in the Pacific Northwest. 

Now, I'm not complaining about the fog. Actually, I'm a huge fan of that mysterious, murky mist that makes every day feel like an episode of Twin Peaks. And while we were living in that ghostly white atmosphere, I was perfectly happy to take a break from the sun.

But now that the sunny golden days have returned, I must admit that the sunshine is glorious. My daily walks with Ranger have been a dazzling delight, and I have the pics to prove it.

^ Waiting just outside the front door was Luna, who sat up to say hello and see us off. Even my even-tempered cats have been much more active and playful during the daytime, now that the sun is shining.

^ In the front yard, my next-door neighbors' golden maple was positively glowing. When the sun hits those brilliant yellow leaves, it's like King Midas laid down his hand. Complemented by the electrifying color of a typical Seattle blue sky, the tree is a glory to behold.

^ But let's be honest. On a day like this, even my overgrown garden full of spent leaves looks beautiful. No wonder that little metal rabbit is bounding to his heart's content.

^ Ranger, too, happily bounded out the door, tail wagging briskly, full of excitement for his sunny adventure.

But wait. He always starts our walk with that level of enthusiasm. Whether it's 90 degrees, pouring rain, frigid temperatures, or a foot of snow, my frisky Irish gentleman is always psyched to be heading off on an adventure.

Just one of the many reasons I love him.

^ I love to watch Ranger wander along the paths and trails through the forest. Even though we are smack dab in the middle of suburbia, I can just imagine him as brave explorer, hunting elusive field birds as he makes his way through untamed countryside.

Well This untamed countryside has a curving paved path. But if I squint really hard, it almost looks like a wild stream, so let's go with that.

^ No matter where we are, autumn looks good on Ranger. His sleek mahogany coat plays well against the scarlet and golden tones of the fall leaves.

But look what happens when the low autumn afternoon sun hits his fur. He literally glows. 

Handsome devil.

^ And while Ranger's shaggy red fur looks good with all the colors of autumn, these fallen maple leaves  that stream across the sidewalk almost swallow him up, so well do they camouflage him.

Best of all, these leaves are dry and crunchy. Now in many parts of the world, it's a given that autumn leaves on the ground will crackle and snap. But here in the soggy PNW, you're much more likely to straggle through damp heaps of sodden mush, strewn with slugs and well on its way to becoming mulch.

So when Ranger and I pass this way, I really live it up. By walking just so, my feet scoop up the leaves, toss them into the air, and exaggerate their crunchiness for maximum audio effect. And if I'm not mistaken, Ranger puts an extra prance in his step as well.

He's frolicsome. No doubt about it.

^ Here we are, home again after our splendid journey, enjoying one last look at the kaleidoscope of autumn beauty strewn across my front lawn. I admire the way that gravity and the wind create an infinite variety of these artful little displays, each one deserving of its own photograph.

That's why I love to take photos on a sunny fall day. Soon enough, the clouds will roll back in, the days, weeks and months will be mostly grey and wet. And it will do my heart good to look back on these photographs and remember when the world is transformed with sunshine on this golden afternoon.

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