The calendar continues to move closer to winter; autumn is almost out of our rear view mirror. The waterfowl have all flown south, the temperatures are dipping lower at night, the sun is hanging closer to the horizon, and the majority of leaves have fallen. The oak tree leaves that remain are a deep russet color.
We had a couple of days of calm winds, where the stillness of nature was delightful. As sunset neared, the winds dropped completely and the lake became like a sheet of glass. The sinking sun’s rays were a golden light and spread across the shoreline. Each tree seemed to glow until gradually the sun sank below the opposite hill and spread it’s shadow over the trees.
Soon the lake will begin to freeze. The oaks will drop their remaining leaves, and winter will settle in. It’s been a glorious, and longer, fall – nothing to complain about here.
Fall – a season that changes from day to day as we transition from summer to winter. It’s never an easy transition and yet we are surprised with the temperature and weather swings. Just as we were reveling in the beauty of the fall colors we woke up to a wintry snowfall a week ago. It powdered the tree leaves with white, accentuating the yellows and reds and reminding us of what lies ahead. The air was quiet with the sound of the falling snow, and the temperatures were still mild. The waterfowl that were here didn’t seem to mind although many have already begun their migration south. By early afternoon the snow had melted, and a few days later we were enjoying sun and the warmth of the 60’s. But this short snow was our reminder of the approaching winter season and the beauty that will come with a landscape covered in white.
As summer fades in the north we are treated to a burst of vibrant fall colors. It’s a feast for our eyes – our senses absorb the colors and try to soak them all in. The blue sky seems bluer and the contrast with the reds, oranges, and yellows of fall grab our attention. It is sometimes breathtaking and even overwhelming, but glorious none the less.
The peak of these colors is lovely, yet fleeting. The intensity changes daily and the colors quickly fade and become muted. And then one day the wind blows and the leaves that had been clinging to the branches since spring let go and carpet the ground with their diminished hues. It’s a ritual that we know happens – a reminder that all things change, and that the snow will soon be ushering in our winter season.
Summer has begun its wind-down. The daylight hours are dwindling, the sun is lower in the sky, the leaves are drying, and some of the birds have already begun their journeys elsewhere. Our colors are starting their change to the deep reds and oranges of fall. So I set out in search of a “last” color of summer and found these Lindley’s asters blooming with their final hurrah, valiantly reaching up to the sun’s warmth. With our lowering night-time temperatures they too will soon be fading into fall’s colors.
On December 19th I wrote that I had accepted a challenge for people to get outside for 30 minutes everyday for 101 days. In that post I said that I can walk about two miles in 30 minutes, and so I challenged myself to do that, and to reach 400 walking miles for the entire year of 2021. I’m happy to say that I did reach my 400-mile goal, before December 31st, and just today I’ve reached the goal of walking for 101 consecutive days, 2+ miles per day.
When I started the 101 days it was November 24, 2021 and we still had golden leaves on the ground, there was green lawns, and the sidewalks and paths were clear. Within ten days the temperatures had dropped and there was snow on the ground. Our winter continued into 2022, and today there is still snow covering the ground. But I have enjoyed so many experiences on my walks. I have walked during a light snowfall when the world seems magical and beautiful and the lights inside the houses are warm and glowing. I’ve trudged through an overnight snowfall of almost five inches with the wind instantly blowing and drifting the snow over my footprints. I’ve seen deer and I’ve heard wolves. I’ve listened to woodpeckers drilling and I’ve seen sparrows huddled in the brush trying to keep warm. I have been out on sun-warmed days when everyone was smiling and so happy for any bit of warmth, and I’ve bundled myself up in multiple layers to protect from the wind and the cold. I’ve watched the moon rise and the sun too.
I haven’t decided yet if I will continue to walk every day; I have already logged 143 miles this year. I’m sure I will walk for at least awhile as I know that being outside in nature is a balm to me amidst all the uncertainties and worries of today, tomorrow, and the future.