The Trees Let Go

The Trees Let Go
This morning, I stood with my face to the sun, watching the autumn leaves sift down, and listening to the last of the acorns drop. (What a banner mast year this was in Williamsburg — an acorn extravaganza!)

Those trees, they know when the time is right to let go. To launch the fruits of their annual labor into the world and then rest for a season, gathering their energy for new growth and creation in the spring.

Wishing you a beautiful fall, with ample time for wrapping up, drawing in, reflecting on, and cozying up!


Like Realized Nostalgia

The natural beauty of Virginia was intoxicating to me.
The Blue Ridge Mountains invaded the sky outside of town, magnolias bloomed, birds sang;
in fact the romantic stories about the South are not imagination.
There is a special softness to the air, like realized nostalgia.

- Gladys Taber, from Harvest of Yesterdays (1976)

Like Realized Nostalgia

Sunrise near Miller’s Head in Shenandoah National Park


Shortest Day, Longest Night

Gray, rainy Winter Solstice

Happy Solstice, everyone!  As I type, winter is stepping into our town’s parlor with a warm hug and a gentle shake of droplets from her gray raincoat.  A very cozy beginning to the season!

Darkness will come early tonight, and if the skies are clear, our little family will celebrate winter’s arrival with a bonfire by the lake.  By the Yule log, we’ll warm our hands and faces, reflecting with gratitude on the many blessings of the last year, and setting our intentions for the next.

Once inside, we’ll be starting a new Solstice tradition: the gift of winter-themed books for the youngest readers in the family!  This year, we picked three sweet titles for our baby boy: The Tomten (in honor of his Swedish heritage), Grandmother Winter (in honor of his German heritage), and Flannel Kisses by Linda Crotta Brennan.  All are stories that celebrate the traditions and simple pleasures of wintertime itself, and all are readable the whole season long (not just December 25).  At bedtime, we’ll read them alongside A Child’s Calendar by John Updike, a favorite book for marking the progression of the seasons year-round.

Enjoy this shortest day and longest night of the year, everyone!  Wishing you peace and light this holiday season!


November Moon

In recent days, the wave of fall color has crested.  The leaves — once awash in brilliant warm tones — are paling to subtler hues.  And their languid, beautiful dance to the earth has begun.  Yesterday on our walk, B and I stood entranced by the falling leaves, loosened from their branches by a gentle breeze, fluttering to the ground in drifts of gold.  Fall is called fall for good reason.

Mother Nature and all her creatures — ourselves included! — are settling in for the crisp, cold months ahead.  Wrapping up the harvest, laying in for winter.   Taking stock, making note.  Turning inward, breathing deep.  Readying our hearts and our homes for the season about to unfold.  It is a glorious one, if we are prepared for it!

Tonight is the eve of the November full moon.  In the late afternoon, don a favorite sweater, step outdoors into the autumn dusk, look for its glow above the russet treetops!  Happy full moon, everyone!


Murmuration

Starling season is approaching… Breathtaking!

Thanks to Christina Birdsong (how appropriate!) for the link!

* * *

P.S. Walking In Season photos for October and November are waiting to be shared.  They are just as excited to show themselves to you as so many of you are to see them!  Soon, I promise!


Autumn Glow

This afternoon, Matt and Bennett went out for a walk about the yard.

They came back in with this reminder that a sight needn’t be perfect to be beautiful.  To glow.

These leaves!  Just looking at them, my heart expands.

Wishing you many bright and joyful moments this autumn!


On the Kindly Moon

For us, life is full of many good things these days.  So many good things, in fact, that the days can’t hold them all, try as they might.  When we find ourselves in such a situation, often a pause is warranted.  A rest.  A quick mental catnap, so to speak.  A little time to retreat, recharge, re-evaluate, re-calibrate, and re-prioritize.  And then resume.

I’m taking a bit of that time  this month.  Rest assured, however, that the October Walking In Season photos are ready and waiting, and will find their way here when once again life moves from pause to play.

Tonight’s moon is the Kindly Moon.  What a beautiful image!  Bask in its benevolent beams, friends, and see you here again soon!


Autumnal Equinox

The long wait is over — autumn is officially here!  The new season swept into town in a shower of raindrops under cover of soft gray skies.  The trees have yet to flash autumn a warm greeting of color, but the mushrooms?  Oh, the mushrooms!  They are welcoming autumn with all their might, much to the delight of the deer, who have been eagerly dining on the delicate morsels springing up throughout the yard and woods.

So many beautiful forms!  Rounded and smooth, ruffled with fringe, embossed with dots.  Buttons, cones, discs.  Red, yellow, and tan against the bright green moss.  And, of course, stark white against the fallen leaves, black with rain.  Perfect on this day of balanced light and darkness.

Each year on the equinox, I return to a beloved poem by Lisel Mueller.  By now it is an integral part of my life’s yearly cycle.  Favorite excerpts are below.  Happy Fall, everyone!

One More Hymn to the Sun

You know that like an ideal mother
she will never leave you,
though after a week of rain
you begin to worry

but you accept her brief absences,
her occasional closed doors
as the prerogative
of an eccentric lover  . . .

You like the fact that her moods are an orderly version of yours,
arranged, like the needs of animals,
by seasons: her spring quirks,
her sexual summers,
her steadfast warmth in the fall;
you remember her face on Christmas Day,
blurred, and suffused with the weak smile
of a woman who has just given birth

The way she loves you, your whole body,
and still leaves enough space between you
to keep you from turning to cinders
before your time!  . . .

She never gave up on you
though it took you billions of years
to learn the alphabet
and the shadow you cast on the ground
changed its shape again and again

- Lisel Mueller, The Missouri Review, 2.1, Fall 1978


Hurricane Hiatus

Hello, everyone!  Walking in Season will be a little late this month…  Our city — and especially our neighborhood — were hit pretty hard by Hurricane Irene.  Thankfully, we three weathered the storm safe and sound.

However, a giant oak tree crashed onto our roof during Irene, and our neighborhood is still without power — downed trees and downed powerlines are everywhere!

So, life is in a bit of a tizzy for now.  When the power is back on (the prediction is that it will return by early next week) and things have settled, we’ll make our monthly trek around the Greensprings loop and bring you photos of the post-Hurricane trail.

Until then, have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!  And, to those of you who still working through Irene’s aftermath, stay safe and hang in there — our hearts are with you!


Harbingers of Fall

At the edge of our lake stands a lone Black Tupelo tree.  Each year, its leaves are the first to don autumn colors.  They are our harbingers of fall.  Yesterday, we looked up and saw that their green had gone red-tinged.

Yesterday, too, we walked to the edge of the woods and watched the deer gather in the field at twilight.  Fawns, does, young bucks with new antlers.  In small groups, they emerged from the forest’s margin, convening in the dusk in the center of the field.  Their nightly ritual.

As we stood in that mellow light, watching, a mild wind blowing steadily against our bare arms, our bare legs, our bare heads, it was so evident:

Summer is departing, and autumn is on her way.

Though the hot bright days of summer may have worn us down, the crisp cool days of autumn will restore us.  It’s a wonderful time of year, so full of bounty and promise.  How I love it!


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