Plants of the Western Slope November 25, 2015

By Evelyn Horn


Plants of the Western Slope November 25, 2015 | Plants of the Western Slope, Evelyn Horn

Photo by Evelyn Horn Mahonia berries

Appreciation

As we come through our driveway, we note that the Mahonia berries have darkened from red to ruby-red. The orange Pyrancantha berries seem brighter ... or is it that the landscape has become darker ... more gray than tawny? And looking toward Grand Mesa, the snow level is down to the pinon-juniper belt. In the past we've watched the aspen belt turn from gray to a gentle spring green, then later, yellowish areas began to appear. Next the aspen covered a whole stretch of the mesa slope and I recall our drive through them -- I love to see the leaves shimmer in the breeze. Now the gold is gone, and with last night's snow the aspen have become aspen-silver.

We pull into the yard and realize that our cottonwoods are nearly bare. But the few leaves that remain continue to dance in the breeze. And we notice that our trumpet vine lost its leaves in last night's wind. Six-inch-long seed pods dangle from the bare, brown branches. I recall looking at one of the pods from the south window this morning. I wondered how the curved pod was created. What bug had built its winter home or laid its eggs within?

A few weeks ago, the rabbit brush was glorious with yellow blossoms. Now the fluffy seeds gleam silver in the low sunlight. The sagebrush by the shed is laden with yellowish blossoms but I remember not to get too close! I'm allergic to it!

And there's a white patch of snow on the north side of the garage. For sure, autumn has passed and winter approaches. The water level in the reservoir rises a little bit each day (just as it always does when irrigation season is over). That's a hopeful sign for our spring migration of sandhill cranes.

To be aware of the world around us, to be capable of understanding the changes, makes us appreciate being alive. For me, every day is an appreciation day.