A Quiet, Somber October Hike in The Susquehanna Wetlands
Like March in the Spring, October is a transitional month. Temperatures could range from the mid 80’s to the 20’s. The weather could be warm and sunny one day or cloudy with snow flurries the next day. Almost as unpredictable as March, October is. However, unlike March, things don’t get better in October for long day and warm weather lovers like me. It is the beginning of the long, cold and dark Winter season I have come to dislike in my older years. It was a cool and cloudy October morning on Sunday when I decided to visit the Susquehanna Wetlands in Luzerne County again. Ominous, a warning of the bleak days ahead of us.
Although the weather may vary from year to year one thing we can be sure of in October here in Northeastern Pennsylvania is the spectacular show Nature provides. It occurs every year regardless of the weather. The leaves change color before they fall from the trees providing a spectacular display of color. . On my hike the prior week the first hints of color appeared in the wetlands. This week there were more colors in the wetlands and river lands but they were still not at there peak. The woodlands along the banks of the Susquehanna River were still mostly green.
Many of their fallen leaves already covered the trail. The gray overcast October sky made for a somber walk as I reflected the ending of another Summer and the cold and dark end to another year on this planet. I am very aware there are many more years behind me than are now ahead of me.
The quiet in the wetlands added to the somber feeling. The songs of the migratory birds are silent, as are the frogs and insects that provide their serenades throughout the Spring and Summer. There were still a few wood ducks in the wetlands.
A few tufted titmice were also fluttering in the trees near the pond, searching for seeds or insects. All of these birds will still be here in the cold of January and I will look forward to seeing them on my Winter walks.
I did find a lot of shagbark hickory nuts on the ground along the trail but most of them were opened and eaten by the chipmunks and squirrels. I did gather a few and roasted them at home. They were delicious.
The silence under the gray October skies added to the somber feeling I had on my walk. As I continued my walk the silence was broken when I heard the noisy chatter of a pair of belted kingfisher. I don’t see them in the wetlands too often, They are usual along the lake in the river lands. I watched as they flew nosily above the trail,
A few Japanese honeysuckle also bloomed for a second time. There are ,many of these invasive but pretty flowers growing in the wetlands and river lands . They bloom in the Spring and fill the woods with there fragrance.
I finished my five mile hike under the still cloudy October skies. I hope that there will be some sunshine this coming weekend, The leaves should be at their peak color and they look even more spectacular in the Autumn sunshine, However, the forecast now calls for more clouds so it will be another somber but more colorful walk. Well, I will still enjoy it and hopefully will see more wildlife to share. Here is a link to a gallery on my website with some more photos from my hike in the wetlands and river lands. Susquehanna Wetlands October 8 2023.
And I would have my soul look the same:
I cannot keep the look of youth,
But how October maples flame —
Age takes our beauty, gives us truth,
Age takes our wit, and makes us wise,
Age gives us life’s October skies
And old October’s mellower days,
A better time a thousand ways.