I was out for a hike at Soldier's Delight reserve this past Sunday, Dec 20, 2015. Soldier's Delight is one of the last remaining serpentine grassland ecosystems in the mid-Atlantic area, and an area I often visit, as it is a wonderful (if small) piece of nature in this area. Thankfully, the ticks were nonexistent, due to the recent (and very short-lived) cold temperatures we had in Maryland.
As I crested one hill, the late afternoon sun beautifully illuminated the golden serpentine grasses on a distant hill, whose slope was terminated by a small creek and the brownish grasses and small oaks at its base.
Autumn is but a memory at Soldiers Delight. The flowers have all gone to seed and even the seed pods are looking a tad bit ragged. There is still beauty in their final days, if we only choose to look.
Despite the current, unseasonably warm temperature in Baltimore, last Sunday was cold enough for ice to linger throughout the day. As I hiked the serpentine grasslands, many of the small pools remained ice-covered, presenting a wonderful portrait of the winter to hopefully come.
The reserve managers are careful in preserving this ecosystem, and periodically cut down old, dead trees to make way for new growth and vegetation. As I passed some of the recently cut timber along side one of the trails, the late afternoon light produced a fascinating pattern of saw cuts against the tree's rings. Here's one that captures what I was seeing and feeling. Sort of abstract, but realistic at the same time.
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Happy holidays and a joyous 2016 to you and your loved ones.