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!
August, that hot, bright, last month of summer. Everything slows in this month’s haze and heat. We retreat to the water, to the shade, to the cool of indoors. In the last lazy days of the season, we make time for afternoons with a cold drink and a good book, final trips to the shore or creek, easy weekend getaways with friends and family.
August, a month of ripening, both in the garden and in the wild. At the side of the road, farm stands are piled high. In kitchens, canners work overtime to preserve the bounty. In the woods and fields, fat seed pods mature on the stem. Here and there, asters begin to flash their gold and purple faces, harbingers of autumn.
August, a month of new beginnings. Back-to-school shopping, bright yellow buses, the first day of class. We never outgrow the thrill of new pencils and clean notebooks, do we?
By the end of the month, we sense a change afoot. One day, we open the door, breathe deeply, and feel it: an easing, a lifting. A shift. The heat and humidity are waning. Sunset finds us earlier and earlier. The turn of the season is on its way.
Happy August, everyone! (Fun fact: until a week before Bennett was born, the name “August” — a family name on both sides of our family — topped our baby boy names list!)
Stop 1: Evening wetland
Stop 1.5: Overgrown
Stop 2: Looks like some tent caterpillars have stricken the little tree on the right.
Stop 3: Soft evening light
Stop 3.5: Note the tree to the left of the path that is snapped in half…. must have been one of last month’s thunderstorms.
Stop 4: No drought this year.
A new moon brings us into July, this month of heavy heat, slow days, thundershower afternoons, stargazing nights. Fireworks, barbecues, reunion of families. Trips to the seashore, trips to the pool, trips to the lake. Long walks in the evening, long hikes in the cool of the mountains. Burgeoning gardens, first harvests, farmer’s market tables laden with homegrown goodness. Oh, what a month!
We walked the trail with Bennett this evening. We have three baby carriers (a ring sling, a Moby wrap, and an Ergo). Tonight we chose the sling, and about halfway through our journey, Bennett announced that at this stage, on long treks, only one carrier is allowed: the Moby. So, he and I had a good long snuggle, him in my arms, sans carrier, all the way home.
Enjoy your holiday weekend, U.S. friends! And savor this delicious month, all!
Stop 1. Verdant.
Stop 1.5. Blackberries soon!
Stop 2. The water is low.
Stop 3. Late evening light.
Stop 3.5. Is that invasive smartweed? Next time, I should check.
Stop 4. There’s a white egret in there, but she’s hard to see at this scale.
June 1st. Today, a new month. Tonight, a new moon. In three weeks, a new season!
With June, summer’s heat and humidity officially arrive. Out in the world, fireflies illuminate the twilight. Peonies and roses fill garden beds. Berries abound. Lemonade refreshes. Hammocks prove perfect napping spots. The waterside beckons. The hiking trail calls. The farmer’s market enters full swing. The sun rises early and goes to bed late. Ah, what a month!
In our yard, two wood duck ducklings make their debut at the shore, with Mama Duck watchful nearby. Squirrels tussle over a new crop of mushrooms. The cicadas wind down. Female box turtles scout the best nest sites, their hind legs digging shallow depressions in the earth. Light dances on the lake at sunset, the golden hour.
This morning, air quality warnings were broadcast, and record highs were predicted, so Matt walked the trail alone while Bennett and I played at home. Remember, you can view a slideshow of the last 1.5 years of Walking in Season photos here. The last stop will always be my favorite (although this month, it’s a bit backlit — sorry about that).
Stop 1. Morning light on the field.
Stop 1.5. Blackberries at the bank!
Stop 2. Tree trunks, normally in shadow, illuminated.
Stop 3. The forest.
Stop 3.5. The lagoon, now so green!
Stop 4. Backlit. Still pretty.
Happy May Day, everyone! It’s official: The Green has arrived in Williamsburg!
On the first of April, most deciduous trees had yet to sprout leaves. Now, on the first of May, the canopy is complete. Last year, we were sad that our photos missed the slow transition from bare to verdant that happens over the course of April.
So, as a special treat, mid-month last month, we added an extra round of Walking in Season, when the leaves were still soft, small, pale green, and oh-so-new. Photographs from April 14 and May 1 are below! The differences between all the stops are fun to see, but Stops 3.5 and 4 are the best, we think.
And remember: you can view a slideshow of ALL our Walking in Season photos — a seasonal time-lapse experience of sorts — over here. Click the “Slideshow” button at the top right, and then select “Options” and choose “Fast” if you’d like the slideshow to advance through the photos more quickly. Or, just take this link.
Happy May! Enjoy the lengthening late-spring days, the warm sun, the blue sky, and the beauty of this month. It’s a great one!
Stop 1: April 14, 2011.
Stop 1. May 1, 2011. POP go the maple leaves!
Stop 1.5. April 14, 2011.
Stop 1.5. May 1, 2011.
Stop 2. April 14, 2011.
Stop 2. May 1, 2011.
Stop 3. April 14, 2011. The sky, still visible.
Stop 3. May 1, 2011. Now we walk in cool shade.
Stop 3.5. April 14, 2011.
Stop 3.5. May 1, 2011. Green obscures the trash in the foreground…
Stop 4. April 14, 2011.
Stop 4. May 1, 2011. The water isn’t as low as it appears — that’s a film of pine pollen and other dusty substances on the surface of the wetland.
April! It’s undeniable: spring is here. Symbols of fertility and renewal abound. Flowers, petals bright and velvety, anthers thick with pollen and stigmas ripe and waiting. Eggs, in cloud white, doe brown, and sea blue, a life encased in each rounded shell. Seeds — from such tiny origins, rollicking displays of green grow. Chicks, soft, pale yellow, cheeping, chirping, and gaining size at a dizzying rate. Bunnies, that classic springtime emblem of reproductive success, hop in the new green grass. The list goes on and on. April is a good month for life!
As always, the complete set of Walking in Season photos can be viewed here.
Stop 1. The fruits of swamp maples add a dash of red.
Stop 1.5. The wetland is growing greener.
Stop 2. A Canada goose snuck her way into this photo.
Stop 3. The trees are patiently waiting for spring.
Stop 3.5. Of all the stops, we predict full-on verdancy will reach this one first.
Stop 4. Though this picture doesn’t do it full justice, this was a beautiful view yesterday — the horizon was pink with swamp maples, and two mallards napped, nestled together, just out of range of the lens.
March is here! Later this month, Spring officially arrives. For us, winter has gone by in a flash of baby snuggling, holding, feeding, changing, and admiring. In many ways, the stretch from December to the present feels like a dream to me — a wonderful dream. Not without its challenges, but wonderful nonetheless! And just as I am emerging from my wintry, motherly reverie, so, it seems, is the outside world.
All around, life is stirring. Crocuses blooming, daffodil leaves pushing up from the earth. Flowers popping like fireworks along the branches of maple trees. Algae greening the lagoon. Spring peepers peeping from the lakeside.
Oh, how I love that spring comes so early to Virginia.
As always, the entire set of monthly Walking In Season photos (January 2010-present) can be viewed here. If I were a cool kid with a Tumblr blog, I would whip up a little time-lapse-like Walking In Season slideshow for you all right quick. But since it’s a bit harder to do such things with WordPress, the world will have to wait for that creation just a little bit longer… But good things come to those who wait. =)
And for those clamoring for photos of our new little one, an entire album of them can be viewed here.
Stop 1. Buds are appearing on the tree branches.
Stop 1.5. Though you can’t see them here, the turtles are out, and the spring peepers are peeping.
Stop 2. Pretty in the late afternoon light.
Stop 3. Holly trees give the woods a splash of green year-round.
Stop 3.5. Already the lagoon is greening with algae.
Stop 4. Look! Flowers on the swamp maples already!
Oh, February! Working your snowy magic across so much of this fine country. But, lo! Take heart. February is a month of cozying up by the fire, warding off the cold, knowing that spring will soon be here. A time to bundle up and enjoy the snow that falls — snowmen and snow angels aren’t just for kids, you know. A time to peruse seed catalogues and lay plans for spring planting and a summer garden! And mid-month, we are given a day to celebrate and proclaim our love for our favorite folks — how lucky is that?
My back is out, due to a combination of winter and postpartum sedentariness plus the hefting and carrying of a steadily growing baby. So, Matt walked the trail alone today, while Bennett and I stayed recumbent and nursing at home, and I dreamed up schemes for strengthening my abdominals, obliques, and back. (On a Bennett-related note, here is perhaps the cutest picture taken of him yet — he is smiling big, real smiles now!)
Stay warm out there! Hugs to all of you on February 14th!
Stop 1. A bland scene.
Stop 1.5. Glassy water.
Stop 2. Stark.
Stop 3. Winter forest.
Stop 3.5. We should pick up that trash, eh?
Stop 4. So lovely, year-round.
Happy New Year to you! Another twelve months of Walking in Season begin today! Our New Year’s Day walk along the path was Bennett’s first non-appointment-related outing, which felt fitting and right, given the number of times he “walked” the trail in utero!
Bennett and I walked a tiny portion of the trail and then headed home, while Matt made the full circuit with the camera. We’ve added a new stop for 2011 — a little lagoon — and if all works as planned, we’ll begin tracking an entirely new location later in the month — stay tuned!
On the ground in Williamsburg are the last remnants of a Christmas Day (and Boxing Day) snowstorm that provided Hampton Roads with its first white Christmas since 1948! The snow was beautiful — wonderful to look out upon while nestled in the bed, nursing and enjoying our new little family. The lovely white drifts are fast disappearing, however, with a warm front that arrived today — it was a balmy 64 F when we were out and about!
As always: the entire set of Walking In Season photos (beginning January 2010) can be viewed here.
Hoping you had a wonderful holiday, and wishing you and yours peace, health, and happiness in 2011!
Stop 1. The last of the snow, melting away!
Stop 1.5. Little white hillocks.
Stop 2. Slushy wetland.
Stop 3. The path has been cleared of leaves since last month…
Stop 3.5. A little lagoon — it will be one of the first stops to turn green in the spring!
Stop 4. Birders were clustered here with cameras and binoculars, but we don’t know what avian visitor they were pursuing!
December! The final installment of Walking in Season for 2010. What an amazing year it has been, full of change and growth in every area of this little family’s life. The wonderful thing about change is that the more you do it, the easier it gets. The more you embrace it, the more fun it becomes. These truths — and the truth that everything new is hard at first but becomes easier with practice — are perhaps my biggest lessons of the year. And to think: it only took three decades of living for me to learn them!
This morning, December dawned cloudy, a cold front moving through. Gray skies and wind. The warm, gorgeous autumn days that lingered throughout November have yielded to something wintrier — and more befitting of the holiday spirit that is evident everywhere around us.
Darkness comes early now, and we find ourselves falling naturally into our winter schedule, cued by the light: dinner by 5:00, screens (laptops, television, phones) off by 9:30, asleep by 10:00! I must say: in no season do I sleep as well, or as long, as I do in wintertime. It is undeniable: my Circadian clock (and body and mind) are powerfully tied to the available daylight, and in winter, my only option is to embrace their dictate that bedtime come early. A rule I am not the least bit sad to follow, especially in these last pre-newborn weeks!
The final month of this pregnancy is proving such a special time. Matt and I are filled with wonder and anticipation, and it feels as though the whole world is filled with wonder and anticipation alongside us! Goodwill, cheer, and beauty abound. December, I am finding, is an excellent time to round out a baby.
That said, this month is also a month for finding and celebrating light in darkness. The winter solstice — the longest night of the year — visits us on December 21. If you find yourself feeling less than merry as that natural holiday approaches, treat yourself to a noontime walk, sans sunscreen or sunglasses, to lift your spirits (and your Vitamin D levels). Fresh air and sunshine (even the wan light of December) always work a special magic on the heart.
And, without further ado: December’s Walking in Season Photos. The full year of photos can be viewed here.
Stop 1. Looking back on the photos of this spot over the year, we were surprised to see how many months it looks just like this: brown and dormant.
Stop 1.5. Gray skies, black water.
Stop 2. I enjoy this spot this most in the cold months. The tree trunks are like sculpture.
Stop 3. Peak fall color came mid-month last month. November 1, these trees were green; by December 1, the leaves had turned and fallen.
Stop 4. No turtles today! Just ducks. This stop is my favorite, I do think.