mostly dull colors

10.23.20 ~ Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center
Mystic, Connecticut

It’s been a challenge finding red leaves this autumn, while dull yellows are everywhere. Looks like our nights haven’t been chilly enough to encourage a brighter display this year. Perhaps the drought is a factor, too. But I continue the search. On Friday we walked on the Denison Farm Trail at the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center.


To get a really good, colorful display, you want to have chilly nights alongside sunny days. The sun helps stimulate the leaves to produce sugars, according to the National Wildlife Foundation. Then the cold nights close off the veins that allow the sugars to escape back into the tree. It’s these trapped sugars that eventually show off the brilliant reds and violets; if this process falters, you get more dull-looking browns and yellows.
~ Scott Sistek
(KOMO News, October 17, 2020)

nature’s art on a boulder

Our drought continues, but was lowered from extreme to severe. We’ve been getting a little rain here and there, and next week more is expected. It was a very cloudy day.

lemon chiffon

I found no pleasure in the silent trees, the falling fir-cones, the congealed relics of autumn, russet leaves, swept by past winds in heaps, and now stiffened together.
~ Charlotte Brontë
(Jane Eyre)

eastern white pine cone
beautiful erratic covered with moss, lichens, fallen leaves and vines
dull can be very pretty
turning crimson?

I have tried to delay the frosts, I have coaxed the fading flowers, I thought I could detain a few of the crimson leaves until you had smiled upon them; but their companions call them, and they cannot stay away.
~ Emily Dickinson
(Letter to William Austin Dickinson, Autumn, 1851)

Tim spotted a glacial erratic off the trail
and another one
this glacial erratic juts out into the parking lot

On the way home I finally spotted some red in Old Mystic. It wasn’t in the woods and it had wires going through it, but I took what I could get. 🙂


Looks like we’re hunkering down for winter and the growing surge in the pandemic. I hope our bubble holds. Statistics:

New London County now has 3,456 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of those, 23 people are in the hospital and 136 have lost their lives. That’s 1,497 new cases since September 30 when I last reported.

Our contact tracers continue to report that they have observed many instances of family and social gathering connections. We are also seeing a significant number of cases associated with sporting events. Cases associated with institutions (schools, long-term care facilities, etc.) remain relatively low.
~ Ledge Light Health District website

Groton is now a “red alert town.” We are advised to cancel gatherings and events with non-family members. (We’ve been doing this all along, but our neighbors haven’t.) The Parks & Recreation Department has suspended all programming.

Connecticut’s positive test rate is 2.9%.

40 thoughts on “mostly dull colors”

  1. Sometimes we have to search for the colors of Fall. But I loved your post and the quotes. It has been dry in Arkansas too – I have been searching for more color.

    1. Good luck on your search, Peggy. Or do you prefer to be called Peggy Joan? When do your colors peak in Arkansas? I think we’re at peak right now. We’re going out again, today. The local arboretum says they have some color. Keeping my fingers crossed!

        1. I hope you will enjoy the colors you do find this year, even if they aren’t as spectacular as they’ve been in the past. 🙂

  2. I love all the autumn colours, Barbara, but didn’t know that temperatures played a role in changing the colours. That’s amazing! Isn’t Mother Nature brilliant?
    Loving yours and Tim’s nature walks, and they are safe for you, which is the main thing. xx

    1. No matter how old I get I’m always learning more about Mother Nature. I sorely miss some of the programs they use to have at the nature center, but they have been having some programs online. It will have to do until it is safe to be around people again. I’m so glad you’re enjoying our walks!

  3. I love the leaves-photos.I am fascinated by them too – take them inside to save them , and then they fade 🙂 But I have a RED TREE in my garden and it goes wild in october

    1. Nothing like fading autumn leaf color to teach us about living in the present moment. I am envious of the red tree in your garden!!! The birch tree in my garden doesn’t have lovely fall colors, but I love its peeling white bark all year round. 🙂

  4. Enjoy the matching of the quotes and pictures.
    COVID is getting real in my world as well. I know three people with it, two in quarantine awaiting test results and my vets office is closed while every one is tested.

    1. Thank you, Sarah. Yikes, COVID is hitting you very close to home. I hope the people you know who have it make a full and quick recovery and that you will be able to avoid getting it yourself. My sister gets tested twice a week because she teaches at a local college. Negative so far, but one of her students tested positive. Keep safe — it looks like it will be a long winter.

  5. When you’e in the mood for red it is hard to be content with muted colors, isn’t it? Still your photos are beautiful. Glacial erratics are fascinating to me. Just think how much ice on the move it would take to move those enormous boulders!
    We got a deluge yesterday~I hope it reaches you next.

    1. Thank you, Melissa! You made me smile, it seems I am definitely in the mood for red but I’m working on trying to roll with the yellow… 🙂 Trying to be grateful for what is.

      I’ve been starting to browse web articles on types of glacial erratics — their history is fascinating. Connecticut is at the southern edge of what was the Laurentide Ice Sheet, which stretched from east of the Rocky Mountains to New England. So much to learn!

      1. That makes sense, then, for there to be so many large erratics in your area. We have moraines here, from the Wisconsin glacier roughly 10,000 years ago. It is amazing to learn about, isn’t it?

        1. Yes, it is. Apparently we have a huge one not too far from here, named Cochegan Rock, that is 54′ long, 50′ high, and 58′ wide. But we can’t figure out how to get to it. It’s on property belonging to the Mohegan tribe. I suspect they are discouraging visitors.

          1. Wouldn’t blame them, really. I’m glad to hear they have property. I understand that in some areas tribes have reservations but in others they have land by treaty or by purchase. I had been under the impression that we’d broken all of the treaties and so was heartened to learn of this.

          2. I wouldn’t blame them either. I’m sure the place had been trashed when it was accessible to the public. (I’ve seen what has happened to our beach when the bars were closed in the spring due to the pandemic.) We have two tribes here in southeastern Connecticut, the Mohegans and the Mashantucket Pequots, and they are considered sovereign nations, to the best of my knowledge. The Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center is an amazing history and nature museum.

  6. My 90 year old mother, whose heritage is probably 100% Irish (so she’s feisty), tested positive for Covid-19. She was placed in isolation for two weeks and remained asymptomatic for the duration. She’s been a blessing to me and a testament to the power of prayer. She has beat two forms of cancer but continues to persevere and face life head-on.

    Beautiful Fall colors. The images made me feel and I like when that happens. Also enjoyed the glacial erratics and can’t imagine the force by which they were moved to their current locations.

    I’m in northwestern Montana, so no stronger to rich Fall colors or beautiful blue glacial ice. Really enjoying my time on your site, thank you.

    1. Your mother sounds amazing! I’m so glad to know that she came through Covid-19 without any ill effects. I’m a cancer survivor, too, and am always encouraged by stories like hers. ❤️

      My husband went to Montana once, for training on a work-related trip, back in the 1990s. While there he went to Glacier National Park and to this day still talks about the astonishing natural beauty he saw there. We went to Norway together in 2015 and one night had water from a nearby glacier with our dinner. It was probably tens of thousands of years old.

      Would you possibly be a descendant of the William Pridmore who was baptized on 23 April 1815 in Thorpe Satchville (Leicestershire) England? He’s my husband’s 3rd-great-grandfather. He came to America in 1857 and three of his brothers also came. I have a bit about them on this post:

      I’m happy to know you’re enjoying my blog, James!

  7. It’s still nice to go out for a walk. Things here are still rather green, or brown yellow. Yet there are few trees that a bold red and orange !

    Yes it is still wise to keep our distance, continue to use safety precautions, and help your body to build our immune system…

    Emily’s words to her brother are touching and wondrous!

    1. It sure IS nice to get out for walks, Jeff! I’m not exaggerating when I say our walks keep me sane. We went out again (pictures coming soon) and found some hints of red here and there in the arboretum, and some orange. Everyone we encountered there was wearing a mask, much to our relief. Southeastern Connectiut is a hot spot right now and the temptation is to not go anywhere…

      Oh yes, dear Emily’s letters are a joy to read. She made everyday life seem so magical with her words. ❤️

  8. I enjoyed your colors, the amber and the nature’s art on a boulder didn’t look too muted at all. But some years the colors don’t seem to pop as much as we’ve remembered in the past. It seems the numbers are really skyrocketing this past week. Hunkering down with you, and hoping it doesn’t get much worse. (But afraid it will. Sigh.)

    1. I’m happy you enjoyed the colors I managed to capture. (I think I took over 300 pictures in the attempt!) So I’m trying to fall in love with yellow by coming up with poetic names for it, like amber, lemon chiffon, saffron, butterscotch, goldenrod, pineapple… Things do look pretty grim and Europe is having a rough time, too. (Tim has brothers in England and Luxembourg — they have weekly Zoom sessions.) Stay safe and hang in there, Kathy! ❤️

  9. While researching our family tree we happened on your blog. We are related to Marion Case by way of Addie Case. Just interested in all the ancestor information. Thank you for all the research.

    1. You’re welcome, Lorrie. It’s always nice to hear from our distant cousins! If you are interested in swapping info to see how our lines go back to Hermon Roberts Case let me know and I would be happy to email you.

  10. You found some beautiful colors, Barbara. I love the glacial erratics. Big rocks of any kind are difficult to find around here. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure I’ve seen any in this area. The bay and ocean wear everything down to pebbles and sand. Our virus numbers have risen, too, although we’re still on the low side (we just passed 400 this week, with 6 deaths). We’re getting similar warnings about family gatherings. As much as I dislike it, we’ll be hunkering down over the holidays (and probably all of winter but I’m not ready to think about that too much right now). Stay safe and well.

    1. Thank you, Robin. If what I’m learning is correct, the Laurentide Ice Sheet’s southern margin went no further south than New York City, in fact Long Island is part of its border and geologically part of Connecticut. When you mentioned not having any erratics in your area it made me remember something we saw in North Carolina. Someone had a sign in their yard offering landscaping boulders for sale. At the time, Tim & I laughed because up here there are so many rocks everywhere you would probably have to pay someone to take them away!

      Sadly, we’ll have plenty of company as we hunker down for the holidays — lots of us grandparents missing the little ones. Take good care.

  11. Those are huge erratics! The drought and incessant heat all Summer had to come with side effects – we had a lot of hot and humid days, but then they were interspersed with below-normal temps. It’s unfortunate the leaves have to suffer the consequences. This is still a beautiful glimpse of Fall as seen through your camera lens Barbara.

    1. Thank you, Linda! I’m beginning to think we have so many erratics because we were near the edge of the ice sheet. You know, that’s something I find fascinating, how a drought can happen at the same time as the air is full of high levels of humidity. All that moisture trapped in the atmosphere and making us miserable while the soil remains bone dry. We were supposed to get some rain today but now the forecast is for “occasional drizzle.” Sigh… I suppose we will have to get used to all these weather extremes.

      1. The erratic weather can wear on you – we had no rain the entire month of June and that broke a record. Last Friday we broke a record for falling temps – we dropped 25 degrees after that storm rolled in. We had gotten to 78 degrees just prior to the storm. We’re having off-and-on rain all this week. I did not walk this morning due to the rain – just as well as we had a murder in our City at 4:00 a.m. and they’ve not yet found the murderer as I write this … hopefully it’s safe to go outside tomorrow as no rain until the afternoon.

        1. A drop of 25 degrees in one day is incredible. Now we’re supposed to get rain and maybe some snow on Friday. We’ll see if it fizzles before it gets here. Stay safe, Linda, I know you will be very careful. So far I feel safe enough in our neighborhood, but I wouldn’t go out at night by myself. There have been a few murders over the years, still pretty rare, though.

          1. Yes that drop in temps almost broke a record. The morning was so gorgeous, like a late September day and now we’re 10 degrees below normal. We had rain again this morning, so I didn’t worry about going out and meeting up with this murderer. But tonight I am late getting here party because I wrote to one of the women who is active in our Facebook City Community Forums. She is not only a moderator of the two forums, but also running for councilwoman. So I thought she may know since nothing was on the news nor in those Forums. I was chitchatting with her off/on for about 90 minutes while she reached out to other moderators, her sources and tried to reach the police to answer my question – we still don’t know and it was not for lack of trying. I feel safe unless something like this happens, but would not go out before sunrise or after sunset … the latest I arrive home is mid-afternoon on a weekend and that is rare to be honest. Thank you – I am trying to stay safe and may drive to the Park tomorrow … hopefully there will be others walking at the Park because if not, I will leave … I’d rather not be there alone if he’s not caught.

          2. You’re on a weather roller coaster. I hope they apprehend the murderer soon. It must be so unsettling knowing one’s out there. Sounds like you’re being careful. Stay safe, my friend!

  12. Beautiful photos. Our leaf colors have not included red so far this month. I like seeing crimson leaves, too. I find it encouraging to read that your area has lower numbers of the virus spreading in schools and long-term care facilities. That’s at least a bit of good news.

    1. Thank you, Ally! Not a good year for reds anywhere, it would seem. Our governor has been on top of things with restrictions, free testing and contact tracing, which has been good news for schools and long-term care facilities. But so many foolish people are still having social gatherings with no social distancing or masks…

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