Before the Storm: A Late Autumn Walk

Earlier this week I was reminded yet again that very often seemingly far away events impact our local community profoundly. Acts of terror, as it turns out, are seldom abstract and removed, nor do they lose their power to induce wide-spread grief, fear, and sorrow.

This afternoon I put the news away and went for a walk as the clouds thickened, promising an early night and a soaking rain. I had planned to make a loop through the forest and over the hill but as I walked the day rapidly darkened and I thought better of my plan, not wishing to navigate, on crutches, a rain slickened, leaf covered trail in twilight.

We are at the time of year when vivid color has largely given way from vibrant reds to muted oranges and yellows.









Yet, at the forest’s edge the occasional oak sapling still showed rich red.






On the hillside a few late season berries held fiercely to the vine.






At the edge of the field a young red fox stood in the tall grass, then bolted before I could gather an image in the diminishing light.






In the deep forest the light changed from orange to blue, reflecting the gathering late afternoon darkness.









I turned towards home, heading back through the milkweed field where our hill rose darkly from the wood, reminding me of Thomas Hardy’s autumnal writings and the deeply human tragedies his characters faced, sometimes alone and sometimes as communities.






I managed to arrive home before the rain, although given the rapidly falling temperatures I guessed the rain could not be far behind. As I entered the house I was greeted by a welcome wave of light and warmth, and was reminded that for the moment, in this place, all was well.

10 thoughts on “Before the Storm: A Late Autumn Walk

  1. I could smell the woods as I walked with you. Yes, I too am living in two worlds. I am trying to get back to spending more energy in the world that is good. My body has been feeling the stress of the election. Do you experience noticeable changes in your physical functioning when you get stressed?

    1. Pat, post-polio is fine tune to stress, so yes indeed I do! Maybe more time in nature? a place that clearly you love. Seeing as the ground is not yet frozen there are many scents out there! Probably even more in Florida.

      1. After 10 falls and winters into spring, I still can’t detect the changes in seasons in Florida. In Michigan I detect changes in late summer/early fall, fall, late fall/early winter, December winter, January winter, February winter, etc. Of course Nature is everywhere, but I don’t experience it touching my soul even while thoroughly enjoy the beach, the Botanical Garden, and all the beautiful plantings in Naples. The whole area looks like a garden. What has touched me deeply is the Everglades although I don’t get there often because I can’t go alone because of alligators and lack of cell phone coverage. But your post took me back to the northern deciduous woods that I miss so much when I am here.

      2. HI Pat, when I lived in magical norther-western California I had a similar issue. The place is rugged, even wild, yet I could not get used to the subtle changes of season. Oddly, I worked in an office on a hill rooted in Humboldt Bay. During the winter I could walk six blocks into town and have lunch in the rain, or I could walk three or four blocks uphill to a park and play in the snow. But most of the time, pretty much all year round, I was in the rain and fog. There was just not enough change for me to feel rooted.

      3. We will be returning to Michigan on Wednesday for winter – and then on January 1 eagerly returning to summer for the rest of winter. 🙂

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