Afternoon on a Hill
By Edna St. Vincent Millay
I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.
I will look at cliffs and clouds
With quiet eyes,
Watch the wind bow down the grass,
And the grass rise.
And when lights begin to show
Up from the town,
I will mark which must be mine,
And then start down!
The weather forecast for Saturday was for a gorgeous day with the autumn leaves at peak on Maryland's eastern shore, so we went to Calvert Cliffs. We had a minor disaster on the way in that we got a flat tire from a two-inch gash that we have no idea how we acquired, but after a quick stop at a gas station that directed us to a service place, we had a replacement tire and headed on to Battle Creek Cypress Swamp, which has a nature center with a beehive, an albino snapping turtle, and an upstairs room with a dozen snakes, plus a boardwalk through the swamp, which is indeed full of cypress knees.
Then we headed on to Calvert Cliffs State Park, where we had a picnic, then walked the 1.8-mile trail to the beach, stopping to look at turtles, birds, and the spectacular color on the leaves. We had visited last year at the same time in November but the leaves were mostly gone. We got to the beach at high tide, which made it impossible to look for shark's teeth -- the air was fairly warm, but the water was very cold, and we'd have had to wade out to hunt for them since it's illegal to dig into the cliffs themselves -- but it was very clear and we had lovely views of Cove Point Lighthouse.
Calvert Cliffs covered with autumn tree color.
The color was even more spectacular on the long hike to reach the cliffs...
...with gorgeous red oak and maple trees, plus yellow tulip poplars and orange-red sweetgum.
Despite the lateness of the season, we got to see some turtles.
This white-throated sparrow even posed for us.
The snakes we saw at the Battle Creek Cypress Swamp all lived in the nature center...
...but we got to see some spectacular cypress knees rising from the water.
And we ended the day with this view of the sky behind the Mormon Temple on the way past Kensington.
We got to watch a prolonged, magnificent sunset as we drove home, pink skies turning to purple as we came around the Beltway. After dinner we watched The Sarah Jane Adventures' "The Empty Planet," which was a bit of a bummer because Sarah Jane herself is in the two-parter for only a few minutes, but had some nice Clyde and Rani Matinee moments, then Daniel asked if we could put on Monty Python, so we watched "Déjà Vu," "The Buzz Aldrin Show (or: An Apology)," and "Live from the Grill-O-Mat" and I am still snickering. Maryland beat Virginia and Penn beat Harvard, so it was a good football day for me even if I didn't see any of it!