I took a walk at the Cincinnati Nature Center at lunch one day this week, just Holly and I. We hadn't been there in a couple of months, waiting until the hot, miserable summer turned into cooler autumn, until I was revitalized and stimulated to walk the woods again.
Without binoculars, field guides, or any express purpose, we wandered the flat, upland paths. I heard more birds than I saw - White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Chickadees, Carolina Wren, Northern Cardinals, American Goldfinches, House Wren, Blue Jay, and Eastern Wood-pewee.
As I approached the Krippendorf Lodge, I came upon these little beauties, nestled at the base of a tree: Colchicum, or Fall Crocuses.
No, they're not a native wildflower. Instead, they are a legacy of the original owners of this remarkable property. Like the daffodils that bloom every spring, the fall crocuses are a gift from the past, from the days when Carl Krippendorf planted hundreds, probably thousands, of bulbs on his property.
Purists might argue that they don't belong here, in a nature preserve in Ohio, but I enjoy them. Their glowing color sparkles among the newly fallen leaves and fading vegetation. And, they are another connection with the Krippendorfs, who loved this place and left it for the generations that followed to love, too.