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Shimmering Sumac

shimmering-sumacMelissa Blue Fine Art

For several years the Lake County Forest Preserve District has been working to complete a green corridor that would run from Cook County to the south to the Wisconsin border to the north. This summer saw this project completed! An entire series of preserves has been linked together along the Des Plaines River, so that species aren’t trapped in isolated islands of habitat. A wonderful trail system reaches the entire length~some 30 miles, I believe. It was along this trail that I came across this patch of sumac last fall. I was enchanted by how they seemed to be tumbling down the hill like playful children, dressed warmly in their colorful fall sweaters.

53 thoughts on “Shimmering Sumac

  1. I love sumac. Beautiful painting!

  2. The painting is beautiful! Your description of the area where you saw it is so poetic and enchanting. I want to skip down the trail with the Sumac!

    1. Thank you Deborah! It looks like comments are not always reaching me so I missed this from you. They do seem to invite us to skip along, don’t they?

      1. Hi Melissa!

        No worries dear friend! I’m so behind I feel blessed to be able to see this and say hi to you this morning almost in “real time”!

        I’ve been out shooting every week-end or shopping for a new house out of state which keeps me off the computer processing images, posting, and reading blogs. I don’t know if I’ll ever catch up.

      2. Good morning! πŸ™‚ It is good to catch up in real time. WAIT~ you’re moving? Move here. We’re having glorious weather and Number 1 Grandson would have abundant mud to play in.

      3. We’re looking but one state over so we’ll still be within driving distance of our children and #1 Grandson.
        In all likelihood we wouldn’t be moving straight-away, but have a house in place when we retire. Nothing is definite. I’d like to look in two other states, but: time and $$$.

      4. It is really difficult, isn’t it, to plan a move at some distance? Still, it is exciting to contemplate new vistas.

  3. Lovely work with one of my favorite autumn plants and scenes!

    1. Thank you so much, Nick! I think Sumac has lured me into embracing fall here in the midwest πŸ™‚

  4. I know what you mean, Deborah. The fluttering leaves, all in their bright colors, seem to lighten our steps. Thank you πŸ™‚

  5. This is amazing!! You really felt the place.

    1. Thank you! You’re right, it has really gotten under my skin πŸ™‚

  6. You did it again :), the painting is beautiful!

    1. you are so kind, Anarette. Thank you! πŸ™‚

  7. Beautiful painting Melissa – I could wallow in those colours forever! X

    1. Thank you Liz~ I could, too! xo

  8. You’ve captured the colors and shapes so well. I like that a lot.

    1. Thanks Jim πŸ™‚

  9. Beautiful sumac, Melissa! The linked preserve is a great achievement for wildlife.

    1. Hi Eliza,
      thank you! Yes, it really is exciting. The head of the District was a great one for forging good relationships with landowners over the years, so that when they were ready to sell, they sold to the Forest Preserve. It would have never worked without the outreach he did. He retired a happy man!

      1. An amazing legacy!

  10. Nice going with those sumacs, which lean increasingly more as the eye moves from right to left. I’m glad to see you’re following your more-abstract bent.

    It’s good to hear about the linking up of those previously separated parcels. Do you plan to hike the entire route (even if in stages)?

    1. Hello Steve~how are the travels?
      Yes, I’m really enjoying playing with the paint in a more abstract-y way. I’m so glad you like it.

      The completed trail really is quite an accomplishment. Over the years I have hiked most of it but my hiking days are behind me. I can barely make a mile these days and then it is straight to the Advil bottle for me.

      1. Since we left Austin on October 16th we’ve spent most of our time in one desert or another. Yesterday evening we reached Bakersfield in the central valley of California and put an end (for the moment) to deserts. Next stop: the San Francisco Bay area.

        I’m sorry to hear about your Advil-y hiking but glad you covered most portions of that trail at one time or another. For me, the hardest part of the current trip has been dealing with the occasional high altitudes, which cause me to get easily winded when walking uphill. It’s been worth it, though, for the sake of seeing nature and taking pictures.

      2. It has been a long time since I was in the desert. Have you seen any jack-rabbits? Or Jack-alopes? πŸ™‚

      3. From what I can tell, the Jackalopes are restricted to Texas. We’ve seen a few rabbits in the desert, but they bounded away quickly and I couldn’t tell what kind of rabbits they were.

        The desert has been great. Our two favorite places so far have been Zion National Park (the only one of Utah’s five national parks that we didn’t make it to on our visit to the state two decades ago) and Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. During our visit to that second one we had murky skies and even some rain, which prevented us from seeing as much of the place as we’d have liked, so a return at some other time would be well worth itβ€”probably not on this trip, however.

      4. Oh that’s right, they are endemic to Texas, aren’t they? The names of the deserts are so evocative. I’m sorry you got rained out of the Valley of Fire. What a disappointment. But, as you say, an opportunity for a future jaunt.

      5. Luckily the rain didn’t last more than half an hour or so, and Eve used the time to buy a few things at the visitor center. We still managed to spend the whole afternoon at the park and were rewarded with a sunset as the sun shone through the clouds.

      6. Oh, I’m glad the day ended well. I’m like Eve~I love to spend time (and money!) at visitor centers>

  11. Sumac foliage sure does resemble fire in the right light and sure does here with the yellow below and behind. A fine way to warm on a cool autumn hike. Very nice work, Melissa.

  12. Sumac does look lit, doesn’t it? It always stops me in my tracks. Thank you Steve.

  13. I’d been hoping to see sumac on my trip. It was such a wonderful complement to the prairies the last time I was here. Unfortunately, the Kansas sumac seems to have finished its autumn show. I did see what I believe to be a different species in southern Missouri and Arkansas: some in woods, and some on prairies. It will be interesting to figure out what it is.

    It’s odd, how some things, like the sumac, can be nothing but branches now, while many of the trees I’d expected to be yellow and gold hardly have begun to turn. I have hopes for the cottonwoods, though. The farther west I travel, the more color I’m seeing. At this point, I’m almost to Colorado, and yes: I have thought about how pretty the aspens might be!

    1. You are right~there are two species. Stag horn and smooth, or Rhus glabra. I find them at the edges between trees and prairie here, so am not sure which is more associated with prairie. Perhaps the stag horn, as it is fuzzy which would help protect it from drying winds. I’m sorry you are not getting much of a show. We aren’t here, either this year. Apparently we had more of a drought than I realized here. It is raining now, though. I hope it saves my pines!

  14. Thank you for this lovely bit of color since it’s been pretty grey and gloomy here lately. Not that I mind the much needed rain, but…

  15. Oh I know what you mean, Gunta. It was blustery and rainy all day yesterday and I had to keep reminding myself to be grateful for the rain. I’m glad my splash of color cheered you πŸ™‚

  16. Good posts, beautiful blog.
    Welcome to see my creations:

    1. Thank you. You have lovely work. It is interesting to see what can be done digitally and I like how you honor the beauty of the natural world with this exciting medium.

      1. thanks, you’r welcome friend

  17. I was a young boy growing up in suburbs nearby the Des Plaines River. I would dream of the days when the forests where thick. Happy to now learn this wonderful news.

  18. Yes, we are working hard to improve the health of the forests along the river and they are really responding. When I was a girl growing up in this area there was a large, beautiful farm I’d admire. Some years spent in Peoria, then a move back. I was overjoyed to see a sign announcing that the farm was now a preserve, with its rolling land, stream, wetlands and trees. I cried with relief~it could so easily have become some developer’s bank account!

    1. A little blessing for the Earth and her citizens

  19. What a worthwhile project. Best of all is your painting and word description of the sumac – so evocative.

  20. Yes it sure is. Thank you so very much Robyn!

  21. The fall colors in your painting express exactly what you had seen that day. Lovely

    1. You are so kind! Thank you.

  22. Trying one more time.

    1. Hey hey, it worked! πŸ™‚

  23. Your glowing sumacs are beautiful – sorry I haven’t been here in a long time!

    1. Thank you, and no worries. I have trouble keeping up too πŸ™‚

  24. Glorious colour, and how wonderful to have the green corridor completed. Many will enjoy it even if you can’t do much of it anymore.

  25. Thank you Gallivanta πŸ™‚ You’re right, the color is just glorious. I have been seduced by autumn in Illinois! It is such a good thing, the green corridor.

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