Peak autumn

_C1_5869.JPGThe zenith of fall’s colors lasts only a few days, and for some reason or another, I think I’ve missed it every year I’ve been here in Arkansas. But this year’s peak fell on a weekend with beautiful weather and plenty of time for a hike — this weekend. I took advantage at the old standby, the Ozark National Forest around Devil’s Den State Park.



_C1_5695.JPGWhat continually amazes me about the annual color explosion is that plants have a lot of the pigments that make it happen year-round, part of a chromatic net to catch as much sunlight as possible. They’re just overwhelmed by the familiar green of chlorophyll. Plants usually have to keep remaking the stuff and stop doing so around this time of year. So the oranges and yellows of carotenoids burst forth, sometimes in a way that looks almost pointillist, as with the oak leaf above. The same class of compounds gives carrots their color. The red is my favorite, though, and comes from a combo of sunlight and sugar.





_C1_5902.JPGIf  you want to see it all, hurry. And thanks for looking.



_C1_4935.JPGMore and more I wonder whether humans will survive themselves. Neo-Nazis, Puerto Rico, incomprehensible suffering in Myanmar and Syria, climate change and hunger, and then that nagging chance of nuclear war — it’s a damn matryoshka doll of global misery right now that is impossible to grasp. I’m fortunate to have a job where I can bring a little time and attention to some of these issues. It isn’t enough. Talking about the beauty and meaning in the world feels pretty trite and inadequate, and appreciating those things feels harder. I’m working at that appreciation and at my job. That’s what I got.

In that vein, last weekend brought a good dose of unabashed weirdness and occasional beauty from the annual Puppets in the Park at Fayetteville’s Wilson Park. The performance appeared on here once before. The show’s plot is always simple and wordless and political in some way. I was mostly there for the 20-foot white-cloth eagle and 10-foot sun getup, and the makeshift musical accompaniment.




_C1_5025.JPGThanks for looking. Keep working.