Any wonderful unexpected thing

I took this photo from my front porch during my first autum in Potomac Shores, 2019.

“After the keen still days of September, the October sun filled the world with mellow warmth…The maple tree in front of the doorstep burned like a gigantic red torch. The oaks along the roadway glowed yellow and bronze. The fields stretched like a carpet of jewels, emerald and topaz and garnet. Everywhere she walked the color shouted and sang around her…In October any wonderful unexpected thing might be possible.” 
― Elizabeth George Speare

Finally we are experiencing the first true autumn weather, and if you live in the northern hemisphere, I hope you are too. Something about that cool fall air does seem to be filled with endless possibilities for joy. So many activities of October anticipate delights soon to come, whether choosing Halloween costumes for kids, or wrapping the first gifts for Christmas, or planting bulbs for spring blooms.

I wish you all the usual enjoyment of October, plus a few wonderful and unexpected surprises. Don’t forget to make time for walking, now that the temperatures are so pleasant. As Speare observed, the colors are shouting and singing for us over the next few weeks. All we have to do is watch and listen.


  1. Chris

    Hi Julia,
    What a beautiful picture! Glad you and so many are enjoying the transition to fall. Unfortunately, here on the gulf coast, we’ve had an above average temperature range in September and the first week of October. The Autumn season here is not so spectacular and tends to be short. I think our temps will be a bit lower next week; hope so! Your picture and Speare’s quote bring me back vividly to my youth, growing up in NC. We had an Autumn there, and I can still remember some of the drives along the Blue Ridge Parkway, just to see the leaves.
    I did make a trip to NY in Sept, and the drive along I-81 was pretty scenic.
    Hope you and Matt have a blessed week!

    • Chris, just last week I was just driving the Blue Ridge Parkway (Skyline Drive) with my friend from California. There were the faintest traces of fall color here and there, still mostly green. But as you know, beautiful in any season. North Carolina would be a wonderful place to grow up, I think. I always thought it was closer to Atlanta (particularly Charlotte) than any other state I visited. And of course, I totally loved growing up in Atlanta. Wishing you some seasonably cool weather! Today is mid 70s here, which compared to last week (97 on last Tuesday), feels downright chilly. 😀

  2. Nancy

    Yes we are! In Vermont and New Hampshire this week! Loving it!

    • Oh Nancy, I am so happy for you!! I hope you are seeing some beautiful colors, but you can’t go wrong no matter what season. Love to you and your sons.

      • Susan

        Nancy, I don’t know who you are, but I grew up in Vermont and this time of year I envy my friends there; hope you enjoyed your visit to the max 🙂 !

        • Susan, Lucky You!! 😀 I have such romantic notions about Vermont, and my brief visit there only fed them…

  3. Sheila

    Good evening, Julia. I almost thought “Good night” was in order, considering the hour. Your view is so lovely and beckons you, I’m sure. What may seem like a dreary, cloudy day in a few months was quite pleasant here today. I so hope you’re finding hope and happiness there in your new surroundings as you call it home more fondly, day by day! Now I’ll say “Good night” as this was just what I needed to soothe my end of day! 😴

    • Sheila, it’s not quite as late as I’m reading this tonight, but it’s already dark so it feels late. Speaking of dreary days, we had a couple this past week, but after the heat it was kind of a respite. I wouldn’t want it like that every day, though. Sunny and 70’s would be my idea of perfect, and we had close to that today. Feeling at home in my new house is coming very gradually, so I still feel like “running away” to York County now and then. But hopefully time will do the trick. Have a wonderful week at 428 and enjoy those ocean waves for me! ❤

  4. One of my favorite months, Julia. Things are changing and we are beyond the status quo.

    • Alan, now when Halloween season rolls around, I will always think of what you wrote about Halloween being a community-centered holiday, whereas most holidays are centered on family. I’ve shared that observation with several people since reading it (I always give you credit 😀 ) and they all have the same light bulb moment as I did, realizing for the first time that the community togetherness was what we, too, loved about Halloween. Happy October!

  5. Harry Sims

    Everything called “Awesome” Is a Divine Gift.

    • Harry, I think the word “awesome” has been so over-used that it has lost its meaning, but I agree, the awe-inspiring gifts are our most obvious signals of Divine providence.

      • Harry Sims

        Ah! but It has not lost its feeling.

  6. What a gorgeous photo, Julia. Happy Autumn.

    • Thank you, Alys! Happy autumn to you, too.

  7. Lydia

    Could you share Alan’s poem, if it’s not an imposition. I have very dear friends that frown at Halloween celebrations and I firmly believe that it’s a wonderful community event. I’d love to share that poem with my friends. Thanks Julia for always inspiring me to enjoy God’s beautiful world.

    • Hi Lydia, thanks for asking, and for being here! Alan’s poem about Halloween is in his book A View from the Quiet Corner, in which he includes a reflection alongside every poem. The Halloween poem itself is about the delights of seeing costumed visitors at the door on Halloween night, but it was the reflection that mentions the part about community spirit. I don’t think he would mind my quoting part of it here (Alan, if you do mind, I can remove the comment — just let me know.)

      He begins by explaining that he grew up in a diverse, blue-collar community located in a housing project, then goes on to talk about Halloween:
      “What made the holiday unique in comparison to others is that it was community centered as opposed to family centered. The large number of families provided a multitude of youthful trick-or-treaters. All sorts of costumed ghosts, goblins, princesses, clowns, hobos, and yes, even a smattering of saints roamed the neighborhood from dusk until midnight with candy sacks in hand. What a great time it was, in the chronological sense. A time in our personal histories allowing a magical evening for youngsters with imaginative wonderings to briefly role-play a hero, a hope, or a dream free from fears of reprisal. It was a refreshing time, encouraged by a commonality of hard work, consideration, and simple pleasures.”

Thanks for encouraging others by sharing your thoughts:

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