The Year’s Last, Loveliest Smile

“Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.”
~WIlliam Cullen Bryant

muddy shoeAutumn is officially here in the Northern Hemisphere. I’ve been busy lately filming nature’s habitats for my A Year in Penn’s Woods project. On this past solstice weekend, I filmed scenes at a lake in the county park near our home. This lake was dredged and restored a year ago and is again filled with a rich diversity of plants and wildlife. Summertime was over, but the fish were still jumpin’ in the lake. Geese, ducks, and a beautiful blue heron graced the water. Yes, I lost a shoe to the mudflats that evening, having ventured too close to the water to find the right spot for filming. The water saturated mud sucked the tightly laced shoe right off of my foot and soaked through the other one; it seemed more important at the time to save the photography equipment rather than the hapless shoe. Undeterred, I continued filming in muddy socks on firmer ground. Lesson learned for future ventures.

Autumn solstice moon

The night of the solstice was magical; a moon slightly past full held court in the heavens wreathed by feathery garlands of clouds. The night was warm; the thrum and buzz of cicada and frog song created the illusion of a summer night instead of the advent of the autumn solstice. As the frog and insect chorus died away, the late evening concert was completed by the soft hoot of an owl in the woods. Although I am still editing the video footage I captured, I grabbed some still shots out of the video to share.  Enjoy!

All photos © 2013 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved.

“At no other time (than autumn) does the earth let itself be inhaled in one smell, the ripe earth; in a smell that is in no way inferior to the smell of the sea, bitter where it borders on taste, and more honeysweet where you feel it touching the first sounds. Containing depth within itself, darkness, something of the grave almost.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

26 thoughts on “The Year’s Last, Loveliest Smile

  1. Pingback: Penn’s Woods: Autumn Equinox | composerinthegarden

  2. I’m not sure which is more beautiful, your words describing The Year’s Last, Loveliest Smile, or your images. I would have rescued the equipment first, too. I don’t lose my shoes as often here as I did in the Bogs, so that’s a plus. 🙂

  3. Your photos set a most gorgeous scene for the backdrop of the evening chorus… lovely:) I learned a new word over at “Wild in Japan” in describing cricket concertos as the tintinnabulation; wonderful word … and i imagine your video recording with the boom of frogs and the soft hoot of owl to be tintinnabulous 🙂

    • Liz, thank you for stopping by and commenting. Tintinnabulation is one of my favorite words, and a wonderful word to describe the nature chorus here in the garden. I enjoyed visiting your blog as well – such beautiful macro flower images!

  4. Gorgeous pics, as always, and the prose brings me to a place of peace as I meditate on your photography that I needed. Hope all is going well with your current project. I am also immersed in the final portion of my project. It truly feels like birthing a baby. Thank you for taking a moment to share the loveliness of your talent with us!

    • Thank you Eleanor. I agree, bringing creative projects into the world is very much like a birth process! I hope your project is going well. I have the premiere of my orchestral piece next week, which will bring that to conclusion. In the meantime, I’m back to filming and editing for the Penn’s Woods project. Good luck on your work; can’t wait to hear more about it! And thank you for taking the time to stop by and comment 🙂

    • Hi Chris, and thank you. The moon and clouds that night were absolutely magical. My best view was in the middle of the road in front of our house, so my husband kept watch for cars while I filmed. Fortunately, not a very busy road late at night!

    • Thanks, LensScaper! I am keeping an eye out for fogs here; I’m hoping to catch the mist rising from the lake some morning soon. Lucky photographer you, to have a fog season; it always yields such magical images 🙂

  5. Nice set of images, Lynn. I can’t wait to see the results of your video project.

    By the way, can I assume that the “lesson learned” is to always don appropriate footwear? 🙂

    • Thanks, Kerry. I’m gearing up the video production for the next few weeks, but it might be a while before anything appears here.

      Lesson learned – yes, I should have been wearing boots, but more importantly, the lesson was to test the ground near water before assuming that it is solid. Fortunately, my husband was nearby and I was able to pass the camera gear to him. When I returned to the same spot after a rain, it was completely covered with water. I realized that what I had been walking on was part of the lake bottom! It was a little scary – a muddy version of quicksand. If this had happened in a more isolated spot and I was by myself, it might not have ended as well. So, I was lucky to learn a caution/pay attention lesson while the stakes were low 🙂

  6. Great photographs! and such a lovely place you have nearby. Autumn is here for sure but I hope for some smiles in the winter time too 🙂

    • Hah! I did return for the shoe after I finished filming but it was so disgusting and at the end of its life anyway that it went into the trash. Even my Scots/Irish husband didn’t protest the decision 🙂 Yes, the lake restoration was long in coming but so well done that the return of fauna and flora was wildly successful. We are unbelievably blessed in having this wonderful habitat only a mile from our house. A favorite place to visit!

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