A Walk on the Gray Side

Natalie and I headed out to Lake Padden for a walk around the loop trail this afternoon. The rain had stopped before we left the house, but the sky had that leaden tone so common to winter days in the northwest.

The forest along the back side of the lake was lush and verdant. Conifers, Oregon-grape, salal, and ferns glistened with moisture. Mosses and lichens reveled in the life-giving rain.

And on the sunny side ducks swam, oblivious to the color of the sky or the temperature of the water.

Red Alder branch reflected in lake surface

All along the shore the red alders, Alnus rubra, leaned out over the water. Dangling catkins, waiting expectantly for the warmth to come within just a few weeks. For now they’re sealed up tight, clasping their pollen until it’s time to release it to the wind and the sticky female flowers on an adjacent tree.

Reflected here, a branch bowing low to the surface of the lake.

Mallards and Coots on lawn

Nearly tame, Mallards and Coots feed on cast-off breadcrumbs tossed from the path by a human couple luring them close to their lens. They dance forward with each underhand throw, racing backward with unhealthy morsels. Repeating until the bag is empty.

Our jaunt complete, we experienced a little exercise on a drab day brightened by fresh air, earthy aromas, textured forest, and avian adventurers.

Back in the warmth of my office I processed these images from my Canon G12 in Adobe Lightroom and tossed them up to the web for you. It’s not yet spring, but not really winter either. Something of a nether season. As a passing walker said today, “Hiking season will be here soon.” Maybe it never left.

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