Appreciating the Flora of Fall

red and yellow fall leaves high desert reno nevada

Even in the buff-colored, high desert of Nevada, neighborhood trees and shrubberies are sporting their autumn finery.

pampas grass and yellow leaves in high desert

During most mornings these past weeks, we’ve pounded the pavement for three-mile walks up into the surrounding hills. Aiming to achieve a cardio workout, I’ve typically refrained from bringing my trusty camera along (an accessory for which I’m often teased; some joke it’s an extension of my body). With the oak and maple leaves, trailing ivy and rabbitbrush reaching their peak fall hues in the past days, however, I could not resist the temptation to indulge my shutterbug passion any longer.

Enter what my husband playfully calls ‘irregular walking,’ (walk, stop, snap, repeat) and these images through which to remember a glorious autumn…

autumn leaves collage reno nevada

pampas grass, desert rose in high desertrabbit brush in reno nevada hills

leaves autumn reno blue sky nevada

yellow leaves reno nevada high desert

red leaves in reno nevada autumn

autumn colors in reno nevadaautumn leaves in the high desertyellow leaves and rabbit brush in high desert

Some of my favorite ways to usher in autumn’s arrival are home-cooked pumpkin soup, warm woolen scarves I’ve picked up on my travels, and picking out the perfect pumpkin to carve and enjoy. What are yours?

A Sky Aglow: Up with the Great Reno Balloon Races Dawn Patrol

Reno Dawn Patrol hot air balloons

Like paper lanterns rising to the heavens in the Far East, the radiant balloons twinkled in unison during the Dawn Patrol that was to precede the Great Reno Balloon Races.  Only seven balloons – those which were qualified to fly in the dark – participated. The flying conditions at night can be dangerous since atmospheric conditions can change quickly once the sun rises over the hot Nevada desert.

Reno Dawn Patrol hot air balloons

As music played in the background, the sky changed from jet black, to midnight blue to steel grey, with a hint of gold. Unfortunately, weather conditions prevented the 80 or so balloons from ascending together after the sun had risen. Though we were disappointed, the beautiful Dawn Patrol event made our 0400 wake-up so worthwhile!

Reno Dawn Patrol hot air balloons Reno Dawn Patrol hot air balloons

For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.  

-Leonardo da Vinci

Reno Dawn Patrol hot air balloons

Reno Dawn Patrol hot air balloons Reno Dawn Patrol hot air balloons

Heights by great men reached and kept were not obtained by sudden flight but, while their companions slept, they were toiling upward in the night. 

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Reno Dawn Patrol hot air balloons

Reno Dawn Patrol hot air balloons

The reason birds can fly and we can’t is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings.

-J.M. Barrie

Reno Dawn Patrol hot air balloons

Reno Dawn Patrol hot air balloons

The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it. 

― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Reno dawn patrol hot air balloons

Reno Dawn Patrol hot air balloons

“There is a trick to flying. The angels told me.” He had smiled at my wide-eyed awe. “You need to forget everything you know as a human being. When you are human, you discover that there is great power in hating the earth. And it can almost make you fly. But it never will.
I had frowned, not quite understanding him. “So, what’s the trick?”
“Love the sky.” 

― Anne Fortier, Juliet

Reno hot air balloon races dawn patrol Reno dawn patrol balloon races

Reno dawn patrol hot air balloon races

Reno Dawn Patrol hot air balloons Reno dawn patrol balloon races

Reno hot air balloon races dawn patrol

reno hot air balloon races Reno hot air balloon races dawn patrol

Reno dawn patrol balloon races

I will never stop trying to fly, because I’m not convinced that anything is impossible!
― Matt Scott

Reno dawn patrol balloon races

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The Laughing, Wild Horse

Horse colt and adult

Since I have grown up in a part of the United States that is very different from the high desert of Nevada, it’s been a joy to observe the flora and the fauna unique to the rugged American West. From geckos, coyotes and snakes, to sagebrush, tumbleweed and saffron-colored rabbit brush, I’ve emitted many squeals of delight these past months while touring the region. It has been the herds of stunning, wild horses that have most effectively captured my attention though!

In this photo series, a young colt tries his best to appear poised and proper, but soon, he erupts into what looks like mischievous laughter. In classic form, the elder horse remains stoic, not even knowing what the junior horse is doing behind his back.

Horse colt and adult

Horse colt and adult

Horse colt and adult