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In 2016 I’m doing a 365 Nature project. Learn more about the project and see all the 365 Nature posts.

One of my favorite places to experience autumn in Seattle is at Washington Park Arboretum. The reason is because there are so many different species of trees there, it’s a continuous cacophony of colors. The leaves are already turning colors and a walk from one end of the arboretum to the other produces yellows, oranges, reds and every shade in-between. The first leaves to change are my favorites as the green gives way in patterns on each individual leaf. Yellow may streak up the veins on one leaf, while a patch of red spreads down from the top on another on the same tree. I looked at several trees today that had all the autumn colors plus green, all on the same tree, even on the same branch.

At the same time, the return of the rains brings something special to the evergreen trees as well. The brown, dried out mosses of summer change overnight to lush, green blankets on the trunks and branches of trees. The rain drips down the trees creating streaks of dark wood on the trunks and branches. The logs and dead wood on the ground also get new life as the rain brings out the rich brown and orange colors of the wood.

Soon mushrooms will be sprouting out of the ground and the deciduous trees will reveal their architectural forms.

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Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner is a naturalist, writer and photographer based in Seattle. She is the author of NATURE OBSCURA: A City’s Hidden Natural World from Mountaineers Books. She writes freelance articles about natural history and has bylines in Crosscut, Popular Science, National Wildlife Magazine and others. On the side she writes fiction. Kelly holds a bachelors degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon and a certificate in non-fiction writing from the University of Washington.

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