Bedewed is Bejeweled

As I’m leaving Woodland Park behind me and driving north on Colorado State Highway 67 early on this August 18 morning, layers of mist hover over the damp meadows that border the road through this high and wide mountain valley. This summer’s monsoon season has been even more generous to neighboring Teller County than to our El Paso County, and the added elevation of nearly 2,000 feet and attendant lower temperatures have allowed the vegetation to come into its full lush self.

Trout Creek, which is responsible for the existence of Manitou Lake, today’s destination, carries its own life-giving moisture. In nights when water vapor in the air is high and the temperature falls below the intriguing dew point, globules of water form and line up on every surface close to the ground. Translucent, jewel-like droplets cling to stems, leaves, and petals of various plants and once the sun rises from behind the hills, various blossoms shimmer and sparkle, glitter and glimmer in their liquid beauty. My shoes and socks are wet in no time but I’m not worried, knowing they will dry out along with the dew once the sun creates enough heat to dissipate the dampness.

Bedewed dandelion

Primrose covered in dew

Heavy morning dew on asters

Making my way on a nearly overgrown and barely noticeable trail, I watch wisps of fog rise from the lake. A lone American White Pelican is floating at a virtually imperceptible pace without disrupting the mirror-like surface of the crystal-clear pond and seems to be enjoying the new day’s solitude as much as I. The harsh gyp-gyp-gyp calls of Red Crossbills who feast on this year’s crop of pine cones is interspersed with the pitiful, begging cries of young Song Sparrows. Their dedicated parents must nonetheless be ready to compliment their needy offspring our the door after months of having their lives revolve around incubating eggs and tending to hatchlings, nestlings, and fledglings.

Pikes Peak’s north face seen from Manitou Lake

American White Pelican

The sparrows, together with a number of Common Yellowthroats and hordes of Red-winged Blackbirds live in the cattails that surround the lake and rim a wooden boardwalk. With their verdant elongated leaves and cob-shaped brown spikes which harbor countless tiny flowers, they provide shelter and food not only for birds, but also for amphibians and insects. I’m excited when I espy a gorgeous dragonfly sunning itself on a cattail stalk with spread wings (a posture which distinguishes it from damselflies who fold their wings over their bodies at rest).

(With special thanks to Brian at https://blhphotoblog.wordpress.com/ for identifying the insect as a Shadow Darner after I had mistakenly called it a Plains Emerald.)

Cattails

Shadow Darner

Attractive Seed Heads

One of the Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels who call Manitou Lake home

The lake, wetlands, riparian corridor, prairie-like expanses, and surrounding forest all contribute to make Manitou Lake the #1 birding hotspot of Teller County, one of the reasons I’m drawn to it time and again. I also come for its natural splendor, for its gorgeous views of Pikes Peak’s massive north face in the south and the craggy peaks of the Lost Creek Wilderness in the north, as well as for its more pleasant summer temperatures which are at least 10 degrees F cooler than in Colorado Springs.

But mostly I come for the sense of peace that invariably settles over me when I can leave the constant worries about human ugliness and cacophony behind, am immersed in the present moment, and wrapped in nature’s warm and welcoming embrace, which makes me happy to still be alive.

Can you see why I have called this “Serenity Lake” in a previous post?

PS: I have written about Manitou Lake several times before and decided to create its own heading on my homepage, where you can find my older blog posts, if desired.

51 thoughts on “Bedewed is Bejeweled

  1. Eine Freundin von mir tritt bald ihre USA Reise an – die ist mutiger als ich. Sie reist von Denver über die Black Hills zu den Prior Mountains und in den Yellowstone. Ich schaue derweil weiter Fotos von meinen Traumlandschaften an. Aber – man darf ja träumen. Danke für die Bilder.
    LIebe Grüße
    MAren

    Liked by 1 person

    • Das hört sich nach einer wunderschönen Tour an und ich hoffe, alles wird für Deine Freundin glatt gehen. Mir geht es inzwischen auch so, daß ich mich damit abgefunden habe, einige Reisen nur noch in Gekanken oder mithilfe von Photos nachzuleben, aber wir leben halt mal in einer anderen Welt als noch vor 15 oder 20 Jahren.
      Ich wünsche Dir trotzdem schöne Reiseerlebnisse, wenn auch momentan nur im Kopf.
      Liebe Grüße,
      Tanja

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When I see dewdrops on plants and flowers, I think of jewels enhancing the beauty of the person wearing them. At the same time, I am reminded of how fleeting natural splendour is. Great photos, Tanja!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate your kind comment, Kerry, and your company on this beautiful, memorable morning. I’m glad to hear that you are experiencing relief from your drought. Watching, hearing, and smelling the rain, especially after a long absence, is one of the most wonderful experiences we get to enjoy.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Verbindlichen Dank, liebe Tanja, für diesen meditativen Naturspaziergang.
    Besonders schön finde ich die taubenetzten Blütenblätter, besonders niedlich das
    Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel und Deine Namensgebung für den See finde ich sehr stimmig.
    Deinen Abschlußsatz kann ich nur unterschreiben!
    Herzensgruß von mir zu Dir ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ich danke Dir, liebe Ulrike. Es freut mich sehr, daß auch Du bei diesem Spaziergang einige freudige Momente erlebt hast und meine Bewunderung für diesen speziellen Ort nachvollziehen kannst.
      Sei herzlich zurückgegrüßt.
      Tanja

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Very enjoyable post Tanja. I can feel the tranquility you artfully described. It is always good to have a place you can go to calm the soul. The political atmosphere has spiraled down so far it is starting to darken souls – leave it to nature to rejuvenate us.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your words and photos perfectly complement each other in this post, Tanja. Beautiful. By writing in the first person, present tense, you draw me in, make me feel that I’m there alongside you. Such a variety of wonderful things to see and enjoy. As you say, experiences like this make one feel glad to be alive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Mr. P. If it weren’t for days like this one, life would be far less enjoyable.
      I like to write in first person and present tense for the immediacy it provides. That’s well proven, though I don’t always think of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. If one were rating blog posts, this might be the reference to which all others are compared. Stunning visuals, captivating written words, and insight from a moment in time made timeless. Thanks, Tanja, for sharing your experience and skills.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It is easy to see why you find serenity here!

    Not only does it satisfy one’s longing for inner peace, but it also offers the bonus of diverse wildlife. That is a “win-win” in my book.

    Beautifully photographed. Beautifully written.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Steve. “Everything dew” is delightful indeed. I suspect you get to see, experience, and photograph it more often than I because of the difference in climate between our states. And the ground squirrels are always fun to encounter.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. As much as turning leaves, the appearance of dew is a mark of our changing seasons. During the summer, it’s mostly seen on metal, glass, and fiberglass, but as nightime temperatures fall, flowers and grasses begin to sparkle and shine. Your primrose and dandelion are especially beautiful, but my favorite among the photos is the one of the seed heads. It’s simplicity is pleasing — even though that ground squirrel came close to claiming pride of place!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a good observation, Linda. The lower temperatures at the higher elevations hold the promise of autumn and I have to say I can’t wait. It’s very depressing that the summer lasts longer and the temperatures are 10 to 15 degrees higher than what used to be “normal.”
      I can’t imagine living in L.A., where it’s at least 105 degrees right now, or in Phoenix, where the thermometer regularly climbs above 115 degrees. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What a lovely post – I enjoyed the dew-bejewelled flowers, the serene lake, the apparently content pelican, the lovely dragonfly and the golden-mantled ground squirrel (I had to look it up to see how it differs from a chipmunk!) and your descriptions. I can see how such a wonderful place can be restorative.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Carol. I do feel fortunate to have access to this special place basically whenever I like, even though I don’t make it there as often as I would like. But it and its beauty, flora, and fauna have never failed to lift my spirit and to gift me equanimity (which I often lack).
      Once one is aware of the differences between chipmunks and ground squirrels, they are evident fairly quickly.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Den Beitrag hatte ich mir schon vor einer Weile angesehen, dann aber vergessen, wiederzukommen 😉 Sehr sehr schöne Fotos. Diese taubetropften Blumen sind wunderschön. Der Pelikan ist ebenfalls toll, genauso wie die schöne Libelle. Die seedheads gefallen mir besonders. Ach, einfach alles schön 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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