Photo of the Week: Smoldering Sunrise

Smoldering SunriseFluttering leaves fill the crisp air as I walk through my neighborhood.  They stick into various slots on my car and wave to me as I jockey my way through traffic. A few stubborn trees cling to their foliage, but Fall has reached the lower Virginia elevations.  Sweet smells and bright colors fill the air.  Our clocks are back to normal time, giving me a little extra light in the morning to enjoy these days before the landscape goes cold for winter.

The symbol of autumn is the brightly-colored leaf.  People drive for hours to witness them in the wild, filling campgrounds and memory cards.  Leaves bring us outside to celebrate in October.  In November they bring us outside to clean the yard.  I feel for those who are required by code to pick them up, bag them and curb them for the trash.  They are a vital part of the ecosystem, and this practice interrupts the natural creation of topsoil.  On a more personal level, this interrupts a long afternoon of watching football on TV!  So, in that spirit, this week’s Photo of the Week has no leaves!

My brother pulled into the driveway at 4:30.  I had my first cup of coffee by 4:40 as the truck hummed out of town. Our conversation was pretty light until the coffee and the heat kicked in.  We had decided the night before to catch sunrise at the swamp.

Entering the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge the sky began to lighten. Crunching gravel caught my attention as we pulled into a small parking area.  Thick fog blanketed the air in front of us, but in the dim light I could make out an opening in the forest.

Ringneck Marsh was a short walk downhill from the truck.  The grassy path greeted my toes with a cool dose of dew as I followed it along the water’s edge.  The fog rolled across the water, revealing different views of the swamp – it was like a large lake with forested edges!  Additional details emerged as the sky continued to brighten.  Large birds gathered in leafless trees and around vegetated islands. Smaller birds skimmed the water’s surface hoping to avoid detection.  Great Herons tiptoed through the shallows avoiding splashes and sudden movements.  I marveled at all of the wildlife, and the level of activity here before dawn.

Things picked up as the sun approached the horizon, bathing the swamp in orange light.  Bird calls filled the sky as hiding places were illuminated.  Standing trees and small islands came in and out of view as the fog began to move.  My senses were filled with activity on all sides.

“Smoldering Sunrise” captures the sun’s first rays scattered across the sky in a cloud of water vapor.  The sky appeared to be on fire, providing a beautiful contrast to the cool water below.  It was a breathtaking moment unlike anything I had ever seen, providing plenty to talk about on the way to breakfast!

*Do you like what you see?  Great! Please let me know!  Share this with your friends and stay tuned next week for another photograph & story.  In the meantime, please visit my website to buy Smoldering Sunrise at a 25% discount!!  No coupon code is required – discount is applied automatically until November 22nd!

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