Two Northern Shovelers add a pop of color with their bright orange legs and beautiful green heads while an icy gray fog hangs behind them.
…winters in Cincy can get downright bland midwinter. Endless gray days descend with cloud covers so thick you sometimes can't tell the difference between morning, noon and early evening. Add in icy cold fogs--gray and creeping, stealing color wherever they roam, and you really start to long for the greens of spring. But Mother Nature never really abandons us during the gray and leaves subtle loveliness for us to find…
...a dark gray background highlights the creamy beiges and whites in these ripe seeds.
A weathered fence seems to hold back a flurry of faded stalks, beautiful in the silence of a gray winter's day.
...a lone American Coot skims the ice, casting a soft gray shadow, quiet as he fades across the surface of the lake.
American Coots splash and dive in icy water…gray on gray.
Alley-oop! A coot completes that spectacular hop and plunge into the water, diving deep under the surface to nab the green water plants below. He resurfaces with beads of water dripping from his head, neck and back…not sparkling in the sun, but glowing white like tiny polished quartz crystals. (Does his little tail remind you a bit of a much fiercer creature's dorsal fin?)
If the sky were shining blue and sparkling fairydust covered the lake, would I have noticed the tiny seeds and folded beauty in this dead flower head?
Monday was the murkiest of gray days, and it was cold and damp too. A gray fog lingered everywhere, but it carried it's own beauty as well. The kids were off school to celebrate Martin Luther King day, and Matty had a hockey game early in the morning at the Indian Hill Winter Club (which borders the old, abandoned Camp Dennison gravel pits). This made me very happy, because during the hour before the game and during part of the first period, I was able to us my new spotting scope to study the American Coots and Northern Shovelers that always hang out at the open area of ice down the hill from the parking lot.
...seeing those coots up close, close, close diving and resurfacing in the icy water was renewing. (I hate to admit it, but I had grown sort of blase toward the plump little dark gray birds, but not anymore.) I loved studying that hop and plunge that they do, and when they would resurface with a bill full of green water plants, shaking their heads back and forth to swallow their meal down, I was mesmerized. I didn't realize how many tiny details I was missing by not using a spotting scope. Now to learn how to take photographs through it....and videos....