This is my favorite time of year - soft golden light, long late afternoon shadows, a sharpness in the air, the smell of fallen leaves and wood smoke, the promise of cleansing rains.
Flowers that haven't bloomed since spring will often make a valiant effort to do so now before the first frost.
The sedums and asters are in full bloom, attracting the elusive honeybee to our garden as is the clematis Montana alba.
Orb spiders, on their spun masterpieces, are patiently awaiting the clueless flying insects that will get them through the winter months ahead.
I begin the Autumn series with this handsome specimen: Zinnia. I've not had much luck growing them here on the coast as they are a hot weather plant - the hotter the better. So I feel lucky to have this one. In the hot inland valleys they attract moths, butterflies and pray mantids. Here, I may see a stray lawn moth or two. Mostly they remind me of gardens past and treasured.
About 2 1/2 inches long, this scorpion, genus Uroctonus mordax, came from the Willow Creek area, about an hour inland from the coast, and is the first one I've ever seen up close and personal. Rather shy and docile, it will live in a young man's terrarium.