Summer’s Palette

In the middle of summer, as in winter, colors seem to be less varied. The landscape is dominated by green, of course, but then a certain palette starts to show, woven together with other subtle colors that you don’t always notice. Every place has its own palette. One of my favorite places has rocks that are black when wet and gray when dry. This black and grey is a predominant theme and is mixed with green and brown, making everything look dark and shady.

The trees are hemlock and mixed deciduous. There is an abundance of soft humus dirt from trees piled up and breaking down into soil. The rich browns are scattered with hemlock needles and twigs. One of my favorite colors and textures is when a tree has broken down and inside there are deep rusts and oranges that flake off in shards, leaving a geometric pile of matter.

The greens are many and varied—the dark olive moss on the dried rocks, the shiny emerald moss on the wet rocks, the bright kelly green of the abundant clearweed that grows anywhere it can, the chartreuse of the duck weed that has traveled down stream from the pond a half mile away.

Then there are random pops of bright orange, like this lobster mushroom. I find them here every year, bright orange with a stark white interior.

There’s the luminous glow of the water when it’s hit by the sun—sometimes it turns golden, and sometimes it’s a warm brown because of the algae growth on the rocks. The reflections on the water flash brown, ochre, green and shots of blue when the trees bend in the breeze and open to the sky.

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