A perfect autumn day

Last November on a warm sunny morning, my feet lifted my tired body and carried me outside so that I might enjoy a bit of the seasonal beauty scattered about the lake.  Why I didn’t post these photos back then is a mystery to me.  Now that I’ve rediscovered them, I thought it was as good a time as any to share them with you.

Standing on the lone pier in Sunset Bay and looking back toward the confluence of several tributaries that feed the lake, a small raft of American white pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) huddled together preening and sleeping.  American coots (Fulica americana) busied themselves around the handful of larger birds.

American white pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) and American coots (Fulica americana) in the lake's shallows

Seasonal colors dappled the foliage in all directions.  That’s quite clear behind the pelicans and coots in that photo.  Although Texas is not known for its autumn colors due to the kinds of trees most prominent in the state, I’m lucky in that the area surrounding White Rock is gifted with a collection of flora all proud to show off their pre-winter best.

As I turned to face the other side of the pier to see what could be seen, I noticed a lone pelican standing in the shallows at the mouth of the bay.  Resting against a canvas of delicious hues painted behind still waters, I found this lone bird to be a restful sight indeed.  Not a care in the world save to preen that beautiful plumage until it glowed with white magnificence.

American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) preening in shallow water with autumn foliage in the background

Turning south from my position on the dock offered a different view still replete with ample wildlife.  That included a small covert of coots heading toward shore to join their brethren and several species of duck who had all chanced upon a breakfast feast left by early morning visitors.

A small covert of American coots (Fulica americana) heading toward shore

Sunlight danced through trees to make magic with light and shadows.  Even the mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos) in the background of that photo seemed to be struggling with whether or not to grab a meal as opposed to enjoying the refreshing breath of a new day.  I couldn’t fault them their quandary as I too found myself pulled this way and that by an early November daybreak that enticed me to lose myself.

An old friend embraced me with the last vestiges of its summer coat even as it prepared to don a nakedness reserved for cold weather.  I wished the tree luck and good fortune during its lengthy nap.

A close-up of my favorite tree standing in morning sunshine

While I made my way toward home, having enjoyed a tireless walk lasting hours that passed like minutes, I pondered the vibrant show brushed all around the lake.  In time, a stark and barren rest would overtake nature, and the vividness of the day would be gone.  But not yet.

The edge of the forest in full autumn display

Finally I returned whence I came, a journey that carried me to the footbridge I love so much.  Wearing the fallen leaves of countless trees and nestled in amongst the safe limbs of soon-to-be-gone foliage, I took in the sight of it for a brief moment.  It lay quietly above murmuring waters gently racing to meet the lake.

A wooden footbridge resting beneath autumn's canopy

The landscape has changed much since that day.  Nevertheless, these photos wrap me in warm memories that will never fade.

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