Kings Canyon Rae Lakes Loop journal excerpt:

29 September 2008

I met fall today.

Her still moments, her cold winds, her banks of day glow aspen marching up the hill. Her high cloud skies and her brilliant azures too.? How her mountain bluebirds chase through the meadow when one gets a fat bug.? How in these last few days before snow she puts out all her berries and seeds.? The preciousness of her few sunny hours.? Her long nights.

She offers a different kind of end of season harvest here in the high country. Concert of birdsong in the migratory throats of the passers through, the bears moving toward lower ground foraging for winter’s extra warmth, the color pouring out of the plants in the culmination of their year’s effort before drawing their sap deep down in.? Even the flowers, so summer and spring, are transformed to seedy pods blown open everywhere and quiet.

But mostly, the berries.? Juniper trees pulling down half the big sky into the hard blue berries they hold in tight bunches basketed on their limbs.? The elderberry bowing over its ripe canopy of river blue.? The thimble and gooseberries, hard to find and eat respectively.? The hillsides of manzanita, each berry tanning to amber after a fiery red start.? Chokecherries too, their darkest black red hiding smooth oval seed centers.? Everywhere, everywhere the plants have their year’s work out in offering. We taste each one along the way.

Listen now, too, to the tall fir, its many cones impossibly bunched on its highest branches as it lets go its seed in the hot sun or cool of evening.? See the winged seeds spiral out over the stream.? Hear them showering down in a singsong tinkle through her simple and clean heavenward raised branches.

[More photos and words from Rae Lakes trip]