This morning he had our first snow of the season, a small, blustery storm of buoyant flakes swirling among the trees and around the yard. Sitting, and sometimes rocking, in our comfortable chairs in the sunroom, we had fun just following the flakes as they whirled around in the wind. We both said we felt so fortunate to be safe and cozy in a comfortable home, a feeling, we both realize, is not felt by untold numbers of people around the world. This small storm was fun for us to see, but it was also a useful reminder of our profound good fortune.
Here’s the scene we saw from the sunroom:
This early storm brought to mind another short piece I wrote a number of years ago …
On any given day, my thoughts are usually as gossamer and scattered as the dusting of snow across Mystic some winter mornings, and that’s exactly what I love most about them. I feel fortunate that my thoughts are as insubstantial as the snowflakes that floated down on us last night. Even worrisome thoughts seem to easily scatter through my mind, and, if I let them, just as easily disappear, as will this wispy sheet of snow by the afternoon. When I step back and simply observe them, I see that my thoughts are actually flimsy specks that fling themselves around in fairly disorderly ways. It’s like they’re having fun, these sometimes bothersome but always free-spirited thoughts that dance around inside me, and I often have fun observing them in their escapades. Like snowflakes, even the most fearful thoughts sooner or later settle to a stop — sometimes on a computer screen in curious rows called sentences.
My beloved walking pal, Delycia, is down with a sore foot, so I took a solo late afternoon walk yesterday in the Denison Pequotsepos Preserve, and it was inspiring in a silent, peaceful way. I missed having my sidekick by my side, and it made the trails seem almost lonesome – but not quite. This preserve is bursting with life, even in these final days before frost, and I could see and hear the various movements and music of Mother Nature all around me as I walked.
Here are a few of the helpful signs I passed along the way.
For the past month or so, I have been our dinner chef, and I must say that I have enjoyed it. Perhaps cooking carefully and with pleasure is a discovery I am just now making in my 78th year. It’s been fun to find appealing recipes, prepare them thoughtfully, and then set them out for us to (hopefully) delight in together.
This was on the menu today – stuffed zucchini, also called ‘zuccanoes’. We both gave it a solid ‘A’.
Yesterday, we drove down to the Kingston (RI) train station and took a fine four-mile walk on the William C. O’Neill Bike Path. We have ridden our bikes many times on this trail, but this was our first time walking it, and it was wonderful. What I noticed most of all, not surprisingly, was the grand bedspread of autumn leaves everywhere, as if the earth was snuggling down for the coming months of cold.
The path wore a coverlet of damp, colorful leaves, almost making it seem like we were walking on softness instead of on solid asphalt.
The deep, wet woodland was filled with old leaves from older trees – some leaves lying in heavy-looking heaps, and some still staying on their limbs, lingering on.
At one point, we crossed a small bridge over the Chipuxet River, where the view made oldness and passing away seem beautiful.
And these fast-fading acorns and leaves and grass sprigs, the senior citizens of autumn’s woods, looked old in the most perfect and peaceful way.
On the return path, we lucky ones walked on a road strewn with shreds of gold.
I saw more lovely colored leaves this morning on my walk in the Peace Sanctuary, and for some reason, I kept thinking of the word ‘patience’. In my own life, I often restlessly dash through the moments and hours, but these autumn leaves set a fine example for me of simply waiting. The leaves patiently let the trees hold them, day after day as their colors change, until, one day when the time is perfect, they calmly let go, float free, and gladly land wherever. I could do with a lot more ‘letting’ and ‘floating’ and ‘gladly landing’ in my life.
Here are some very patient trees and leaves.
And here, under the trees, are some patient stones and boulders which have been stoically sitting precisely where they are for hundreds of thousands of years.
In storms and sunshine, while wars and love affairs flowed endlessly across the planet, these boulders have long-sufferingly stayed where they still are, on a trail in the Peace Sanctuary in Mystic, CT.
Below is a slideshow of some scenes from this morning’s sunrise walk in the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Preserve. We feel so fortunate to have this fairyland of nature within a few blocks of our home, and on this almost frosty morning we followed the trails with a feeling of warm, light-hearted liberty. I think we both loved the look of the early light on the colorful trees, and on my trail (we took different trails today) I was lucky to see a deer browsing and occasionally staring at me. Meeting back at the car, our greetings and smiles showed how thankful we felt for this brief but wonderful and refreshing adventure.
We took a brief afternoon walk today at the Peace Sanctuary, up and down the damp and leafy trail under clouds that very softly showered every so often, and still, even in the wet grayness, the sanctuary was as stunning as ever. We talked as we walked, shuffling leaves with our boots and seeing old leaves letting go and floating down among the limbs. The esteemed and misty Mystic River looked youthful and beautiful in the grayness.
This morning Delycia and I took a blissful walk through autumn-colored woods at the Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve in Niantic, CT. I truly felt like I was in paradise, if paradise is a place where all is beautiful and perfect. I walked like I was on holy ground, and solucky to be there. Below is a slide show of a few scenes from our morning’s visit to the Kingdom of Oswegatchie.
Delycia is still resting her bruised foot today, so I walked by myself on the trail in the Peace Sanctuary this morning, and was lucky to find a beautiful fog over the Mystic River. I took this picture of the river from the overlook at the top of the cliff,
and it reminded me of this poem I wrote many years ago, during a walk with Delycia.
The fog came to be beside them
with something like peace and happiness.
It seemed like a lighthearted fog, a mist
that makes a life look loose and full
of brilliance. They walked through sheets
of fog that flowed because they were flowing.
They followed their thoughts more
than the streets, just strolling in partnership
with the friendly fog
for their partner.
mums and leaves
wear their special costumes,
and only the final crumbles of summer
can be found.
Drummers announcing winter’s storms
are still far-off and feint,
but snowstorms have heard their summons
and are making ready.
Pumpkins, too, are preparing themselves,
almost humming in happiness,
and the trumpets of frost
are perfecting their melodies.
It’s no surprise
that worries and fears
often grow numb and powerless
during this season of
of humble but buoyant autumn.
Here are some photos from this autumn season …
Delycia and her artistic – but very scary – jack-o’-lantern …