All the magic

Autumn tree with roses, November 2014

The streets of our York neighborhood are alight with autumn, November 2014.

“The Sussex lanes were very lovely in the autumn. I started going for long lone country walks among the spendthrift gold and glory of the year-end, giving myself up to the earth-scents and the sky-winds and all the magic of the countryside which is ordained for the healing of the soul.”Monica Baldwin

Saturday (two days ago; I’m no longer two weeks ahead in writing these posts) I was a bit reluctant to head out into the cold for my walk.  I wasn’t feeling all that well, and the 40-degree weather was not inviting, despite the afternoon sunshine.  I imagine some of you who live far north of here might laugh at the idea of being kept indoors by temperatures in the 40’s, but you can’t take the southern out of the girl…

In any case, I bundled up in five layers– yes, FIVE– and tucked my camera into my pocket as an added incentive.  Almost immediately, I was so happy I did not chicken out of the walk.  It was splendid, exactly what I needed that afternoon.  I took the photo above, along with many, many more, on the streets of our York neighborhood where I imagine that I and my camera have become familiar to most of the neighbors.

Perhaps Baldwin is not exaggerating when she says the autumnal splendor, along with other beauties of the countryside, are ordained for the healing of the soul.  It certainly felt healing to me that day, as it almost always does.

It may be growing quite cold where you live (or perhaps getting uncomfortably warm, if you are south of the equator) but I hope that you will brave the weather for the balm of nature’s abundant gifts.  Tuck a few memories away in your mind or your camera, and enjoy the vivid canvas of November before the colors are muted and dormant.  I’ll have hot tea and scones for you when you return.

48 Comments

  1. Good morning, Julia! What a cute tree! Thank you for sharing it. Here in New Hampshire, we are decidedly past peak. But what an extensive season it has been! I drove North early in the season to catch the earlier changes in the White Mountains, and now I’m blessed by you and your camera. My indulgence in autumn leaves this year has been fabulously gratifying. I think the only thing I didn’t do is roll in them!

    • I’m so happy you were able to enjoy the splendor of New Hampshire in the fall. When I read your remark about “the only thing I didn’t do is roll in them” I thought: “Hey, I KNEW I was forgetting something!” 😀 We still have a lot of pretty gold, orange and crimson to enjoy, but when the wind blows, I see the leaves raining down and know it won’t be here long. I suppose that’s partly what makes us pause to really take it all in.

  2. Anon E. Moose

    I caught cha! Something told me I would not have to wait til Tuesday.
    yes, enjoy the autumn; because this promises to be another tough winter.
    The buck I harvested for the freezer a couple of weeks ago already had a thicker-than-normal winter coat, and it is true that the Heavenly Father prepares the animals, in advance, for contingencies.

    Have you tried making scones sweetened only by raisins (or maybe add a little Splenda)?

    • I must confess that I BUY my scones at Panera bread or the grocery deli. But I have always toyed with the idea of trying to make some. If I do, I’ll certainly cut back the sugar by using raisins, with maybe just a touch of xylitol or turbinado sugar. Re: the thick winter coats, we noticed how Pasha’s coat got much thicker in the winters of Virginia than it ever did in Texas or California. As harsh as nature seems at times, I do think the animals are in many ways more closely connected than we are with divine providence, if only because of their instinctive dependence on it. Perhaps this is the source of the seeming serenity of much of the animal kingdom that is so appealing to us as humans. This week is COLD here (supposed to get down in the twenties, which is unusual for mid November in Tidewater) so I’m afraid your observations of a hard winter will prove to be true. The squirrels are busy, almost frenetically so, and Jeff saw a magnificent hawk in our York backyard yesterday, apparently watching for wildlife (which wisely stayed hidden until he left). I’m trying to look forward to the idea of a long quiet winter. I’m stocked up on tea and hope to be able to read your book before spring! 😀

      • Anon E. Moose

        My book is not for everyone. Some, like retired field grade military officers rave about it, but it is quite tedious for most. I will tell you like I do everyone: there is no expectation from me; I will never ask you about how much, or how little you have read. You may enjoy the murder mystery, set in Charleston, SC, due to be published in 2016.

        • I found it quite engaging for the few pages I was able to read from Dad’s copy. I haven’t even had a chance to open it since I got my own copy. I’ll have to go back to the beginning when I re-start it. I always take a long time to get through print books, because I can’t read while doing anything else (as I can listen to unabridged books while doing dishes, walking, etc.) But I find that I’d rather read slowly anyway, because I comprehend and remember more that way.

        • Ann

          What is the name of your book? Also the upcoming book. I think my husband might like them.

          • Anon E. Moose

            Ann – thanks for your inquiry, but the books are not available online. I am appearing at a Civil War show in Franklin, TN next month, but would be happy to send you a copy of Fallen Weapon Fallen Warrior. James Michener is my hero, and I have attempted to weave my novel around the life of General George S. Patton’s grandfather (a Confederate colonel). The next project, as stated above, is a murder mystery entitled Shadow of a Sword.
            Writing, for me, is because I enjoy it – any book sales are just so much more “gravy” 🙂

            • Ann

              Julia, can you give Anon E. Moose my email address so we can continue this dialogue? Thanks, ann

              • Hi Ann, I emailed you both earlier today. I don’t know how often Eric checks his email (he lives in the mountains where the internet and/or cell phone service is not that great) but I’m sure you will hear from him soon.

  3. Ann

    Hooray, you’re back! I’ve been having withdrawal pains from my daily dose of encouragement.😊

    What type of tree is shown in your photograph above? It’s lovely. We’re having the same cold weather here in South Carolina brrrrrr. But this will inspire me to get out and walk.
    Thanks, Ann

    • Awww, thanks Ann, that makes me happy — it’s nice to hear you were glad to see me again. The tree is a crape myrtle. Our Alexandria neighborhood (a huge planned community) claims it as their “official tree,” but there seem to be even more of them in our York neighborhood. They are full and green in spring, covered with bright flowers in summer, vivid orange or scarlet leaves in fall, and beautiful bare trunks in winter. Truly gorgeous all year round. It’s cold here, too, but walks can be nice in the chilly weather. Bundle up and wait for a sunny hour to head out — and remember, you’ll warm up considerably after the first 20 minutes or so! But a hat and gloves are always nice to have in case they’re needed.

  4. Good morning, Julia. Beautiful fall picture! Trees along our street is decked out in fall colors.
    I miss walking but can’t get out right now…but hopefully soon.
    May you and Jeff be blessed…

    • Merry, I recently read an essay about an interesting study that said people who imagined doing activities (even when unable to actually do them physically) stayed more fit than those who were sedentary both mentally and physically. The skeptic in me says “I’ll need to read more about that before I can believe it” but in any case, perhaps you will enjoy looking outside and imagining yourself completely healed and strolling along to your heart’s content. I’ll keep praying for you to have a smooth and swift recovery. Thanks for being here with us.

  5. Sheila

    Julia, we are having that cool, windy weather today without any sunshine. My mom used to refer to days like this as “oppressive” and I delight in recalling that. Today, while on a long walk with Jack, I noticed a bright orange “leaf” fluttering around in the wind. Upon closer examination, it was a Monarch butterfly that seemed hesitant of his surroundings. I think this colder weather has thrown the butterflies into a panic. They should be way south of here by now. I delighted in reading your blog this morning! 😊

    • Wow, that poor butterfly! I hope it was able to reach safety. I used to love seeing them gathered in Pismo Beach and Pacific Grove when we lived on the central coast of California. It was miserably rainy and chilly today, and as fate would have it, I ended up having to be outside a good bit of the day, running errands. Tomorrow is supposed to be COLD but if it’s sunny, it’s much easier to take. Does Jack like the chilly weather? Pasha’s favorite time of year was fall, and he would get very frisky when it turned cooler — but once it got REALLY cold, he wasn’t too fond of his 2-mile daily walks. I often feel the same!

      • Sheila

        Jack just loves LIFE. He is the funniest dog ever! 😊 I think of what he has been through and often say, “Jack, tell me your story!” And I’m waiting.

        • He sounds like my kind of dog. Perhaps when you ask him to tell you his story, he thinks “if only you people didn’t depend so much on words!” Or maybe he’s thinking “You ARE my story! Let’s go outside!”

          • Sheila

            Julia and Eric, interesting to read about the thicker coats to get ready for the harsher weather. Jack’s coat is so thick and curly that he was mistaken for a poodle while at Willow Tree.😍 The sunlight is sparkling brighter than millions of diamonds off the cold, cold ocean!

            • Sheila, maybe it was Jack’s keen intelligence that caused him to be mistaken for a poodle, since they are said to be the smartest breed. (At least we can tell Jack that!) 🙂 That sun sparkling on the water is one of my favorite sights. Thanks for bringing it to mind today.

              • Sheila

                Julia, I thought a “visual” was good for today! 😍☕️🍪

                • I wish I had some of those cute little pictures to use. Surely Microsoft must know how to make them too!

                  • Sheila

                    You know I wish I could “beam” you some! 👏😊 0h, just saw your email! Thank you…🍫😉

                    • 👏😊 Hey, I just copied and pasted your pictures! You DID beam me some! 😀

  6. Julia,
    Cold weather is not a friend to me either. So, if you don’t mind I’ll just enjoy going on the walks you describe.
    As I read your post I was listening to: “For The Beauty Of The Earth,” by John Rutter. I suggest you listen to it before your next walk, or better still, take it along. You can find it on youtube. The St. Monica Chior version(1996) is exceptional.
    -Alan

    • Alan, I listened to the St. Monica Choir on YouTube and it was lovely; I grew up singing that song, but we always sang it to the tune written by Conrad Kocher. I had never heard the John Rutter version. Both tunes seem to use Pierpoint’s lyrics, as they are almost identical to the ones I remember. Thanks for sharing that. It is a very appropriate song to sing (silently 😀 ) while walking.

  7. We hit record lows in Portland, Oregon this morning at around 16 degrees. It took a while for that Polar Vortex that has gripped the nation.

    • WOW, I hope you don’t lose a lot of plants and flowers. Our summer was relatively mild, and I wondered whether that meant a hard winter. Apparently the entire country is in store for some really cold months. What do the zoo animals do in such weather? Do they keep them indoors?

  8. Michael

    I am with Bob on this one- ready for a return to Hawaii. It’s 30 in Seattle not too far from Bob. No rain though.
    Those trees look gorgeous- Crape Myrtles? Getting some different varieties of squash coming in now from Farm store- Sweet Meat and Delicata also Spaghetti and Butternut.

    • Michael, maybe this is nature’s way of preparing you for a possible move to the Atlanta area. Yes, the Crape Myrtles are fabulous trees, definitely one of my favorites. We have so many in both Alexandria and York that I would feel bereft if I did not see them in abundance every day. I wish I could learn to like eating squash. Everyone I know who has ever tried to grow it has had pretty good success, and it’s said to be very nutritious. Likely it was a staple in the diet of America’s earlier inhabitants.

  9. So true,Julia. I’ve had to convince myself to walk in colder weather and I’m always glad that I did. It’s invigorating and rewarding.

    I’m so happy to hear that you are writing in the now. That’s terrific. xox

    • Thanks Alys. My life is so unpredictable that I do need to schedule in advance to be sure of publishing regularly, but hopefully I’ll be able to add a bit more spontaneity here and there. My goal is to have some immediate posts combined with pre-scheduled ones – maybe I can have them scheduled, but pre-empt them for later if something interesting pops up!

      • That’s a great idea!

        • Thanks! We’ll see how it goes. 😀

  10. Michael

    There are 5 or six Crape Myrtles in the Seattle area- I reckon. Only one large tree that I know of- in downtown Seattle close to Harborview Hospital. (I can’t grow squash -except for Zuchinnis.) I trust the Polar Vortex has not found its way South to Atlanta. I guess I will find out-hopefully not too long from now.
    I went to a local writer’s reading at our Westport beach library http://www.trl.org .
    Very interesting and one of the local writers Denise Duggan has written of her own journey to find her birth mother. Swept away at birth to the Seattle Children’s home- an orphanage no longer in existence- in the mid 50’s- she was then adopted at age six months to a Caucasian family. She had no idea of her heritage which was half -Cherokee- Cree. She has bright red hair. When her son was born with jet black hair and dark skin she began to wonder. Anyway heartbreaking story and when she did locate the birth parents -they did not want to open communication. However she has been adopted into the Cherokee nation and went to a naming ceremony in Montana?. Her’s was a search to find -“my people.”

    • WOW, that sounds like a fascinating program. Librarians are always eager to find such guests. What a story! I’m glad she is now enrolled among the Cherokee. Thanks for the link to your library. I notice your library has Freegal and has increased to 5 downloads per week! Maybe ours has too – last I had time to check, it was only 3 per week, but of course I have so many different library accounts, I’ve always had more than I had time to download, hee-hee. I’ve gotten a lot of great, legally FREE music that way. That’s how I became a fan of Adele’s voice, among others. Most of the public libraries I know of just keep getting better. Definitely one of the best bargains around!

  11. MaryAnn

    The trunk of this tree grabs my attention, then I revel in the beauty of the colors! I will be right there for tea & scones. What a gracious hostess & friend!

    • Thank you, Mary Ann – I am always happy to visit with you! ❤

  12. MaryAnn

    My uncles were cattle ranchers. They could tell how harsh the cold weather would be by looking at the animals’ coats. Then when spring was near, they could tell how long winter would last by watching when the shedding began. Such a talent to receive the messages God sends our way!

    • Mary Ann, I agree! Animals are our friends and helpers in so many ways. From watching them I have become aware of how God cares for them and for all creation. Nature is filled with provisions for fruitful survival. It means we should consider thoughtfully how best to manage all these wonderful gifts, as people have the ability to be either good stewards or wasteful spoilers of the incredible blessings entrusted to our care.

      • MaryAnn

        AMEN!

  13. Michael

    Yes libraries are pretty amazing little institutions and I heard a story on NPR- which I should really stop listening too as there is so much scary stuff- ISIS, Ebola- Polar Vortex etc.- about how libraries are and have always been on the cutting edge and even now with 3-D printers which many are putting they are the first again to use them- who knew, and once again I am working on my run on sentence skills. How am I doing?
    They- Timberland Library- are having a power writing workshop next month -have you heard of these?
    Freegal?

    • Hi Michael, I haven’t heard of power writing — does it have to do with business communications or persuasive writing or what? Freegal is the free music download service available at many public libraries. Click on the big icon at the link you provided and it will give you details. You can get 5 free downloads per week (legal MP3 files that are yours to keep forever) and there are a lot of good artists included in the mix. Definitely a great bargain. Asking me to critique run on sentences is like asking Kim Kardashian for tips on how to maintain a normal, private life.

  14. Michael

    I punched in my son’s address in Canton on MapQuest and got directions. From Seattle it is around 2752 miles and it takes around 42 hours straight to drive. Estimated cost of 435 dollars. We have friends in Spokane, Yellowstone and Denver area. Who would be crazy enough to do something like that? Maybe I will pay a student to drive my car back.

    • Hey, how did your car get to Canton? I must have missed something. Maybe you can check out this site which I learned about from this article on lifehacker.

  15. Michael

    No- just doing some advance planning.

    • With the internet and all the ways to connect, it really does seem that there should be some way of finding someone who’d be willing to drive your car back for you. There are quite a few ride sharing organizations online, though I’d want to be very careful which I used and who I would allow to ride with me or use my car. As with Air BnB, the concept is exciting but a bit worrisome too.

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