Cold Outside, but…..

It was a cold morning. The temperature was sub-zero.  Raining. Vegetarians were frozen solid. Roads are icy, wet, and slippery. Frozen water drips were hanging on leaf ends. Tree twigs were wrapped in textured ice. Leaves were coated with crystals. Raindrops wiped all clean and ice was sparkling in the light.  Dragging the thought of going out, I could not resist the temptation.
I bundled myself up with a sweater, heavy coat, scarf, and gloves. I put my raincoat on and rain cover on my camera.  I grabbed my tripod and slowly walked into the chill, 25 degrees (4 below zero Celsius). Rain blocked my sight and prompted my fear to wet my camera in all possible circumstances. I waited for the rain to stop or at least decrease to a misty condition.
As I was scouting through the trees and shrubs, I spotted something shimmering in the background. There were these two leaf skeletons! I was expecting to see actual leaves underneath, but there was nothing and the skeletons were not attached to the twigs like the leaves would normally do.  At first, I was puzzled. Then, when I was ready to take a closer shot, the smaller ‘leaf’ melted and crashed on the ground, and I noticed that the large leaf had dropped closer to the tip end.  At this point, I made a conclusion: these two ghost leaves were formed from two leaves above this twig. As they began to melt, they fell and were attached to the twig below. I have never seen ghost leaves. This is the first.
Normally, ice will cover the leaf-like this one. If not for the ice, I would never notice the existence of this leaf, a faded and lifeless autumn leaf. Ice coating has brought up its vibrant colors plus a red berry was involuntarily confined with the leaf. And, the texture is amazing! The background is colorful, but I decided not to add anything. Nature wonder is what I appreciate here.
A twig is just a twig not until it was textured with laced ice. Crane apple berry was down to its life end and ready to wither, but it looks lively with an iced texture. In my eyes, live or death is determined by timing and occasion and how we implement the definition.
Almost all of my bird buddies immigrated south when the cold waves hit the region, but my Old Faithful Juncos are always flocked here for the winter. They are hunting their food diligently regardless of ice or snow. I would say, most bird photographers do not shoot Junco because they are so common and they seem to be always around. To me, they are special because they are my winter buddies. They don’t necessarily have dramatic appearance, but they are good-looking birds with a graceful gesture. I have not seen them fighting with other birds. When the aggressive ones come, they would yield and come back some other time. They are peacemakers. They don’t have to sing or make any noise, but I always know they are there.
Nothing extra-ordinary, but I like the peace and soft color tones in this image.  It was just one junco standing on the railing with icicles dripping down. I intended to amuse myself with ‘what I had in my mind’: It is the time of the year when maple leaves are falling. Evergreen is always green. My bird is here. He is not singing, but I hear the music through the falling leaves… It is all in your mind.

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