Trouble in Cedar Key: Red maples, yellow daisies and green, green grass

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By Gene Benedict

Next week heralds the official start of fall, of autumn. You can't tell that by the air temperatures yet, but you do notice the shorter days and the longer nights. And as the sun is lower in the daylight sky, the moon is higher in the nighttime.

We are about half way through the season of spring tides with the highs being unusually high, the lows, low.

We are half way through our hurricane season along the eastern Gulf. After nearly a month of storms and hurricanes plaguing the Cedar Keys with rain and wind, the skies are clearer and the noontime temperatures are hot.

We're back in the "dog days," for a while, that is. But soon enough that will change.

Wildlife doesn't always mark the season by temperature change. The length of the day is important as is the angle of the sun in the sky as it traverses.

The sun now rises nearly dead east and sets just north of due west. Next week the hours of direct sunlight will be half the day or twelve hours.

The silver-barked maple trees are in their bright red of fall colors. Look, soon, as their leaves will lose reddishness, browning and falling. Notice, too, those bright yellow daisies on the Cedar Keys.

They are at their peak now. Some refer to those daisies as wild sunflowers.

From observation those daisies grow mainly on the Cedar Keys. You won't much find them more than a dozen yards or so onto the mainland.

Those locals who have been here a while refer to them as "Elena Daisies."

They seem to have appeared in large numbers after Hurricane Elena passed through Labor Day weekend in eighty-five.

Elena went in tight little circles between here and Old Homosassa tearing up the coastline and wrecking Dock Street on Cedar Key. They are also referred to as "resurrection daisies" as they popped up while Cedar Key was rebuilding.

Notice, too, the green grass of the marshes. The storms, the high tides, the winds have wiped the old growth away.

Now in their last weeks of green they are striking in the wide expanse of green, green greenness.

What a great time of year, the memories of passing and the anticipations of coming.

Share with me, if you will, your thoughts and observations in this time of change. See you out there looking...

E-mail: tnckgebe@yahoo.com