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Monday Missive – Not Quite Fall

Stuffed peppers
“And then the sun took a step back, the leaves lulled themselves to sleep and Autumn was awaked.”
Raquel Franco

The sun is shifting and mid mornings have golden beams of light flooding the living room. Fall has not fully taken hold because the sun moves more quickly now rather than at the timid pace of fall and early winter.

  • I am finally working in my studio some. I am experimenting and getting comfortable with tools right now. A photo essay to follow later in the week.
  • The Covid-19 news this morning was bleak. Cases on the rise everywhere it seems. The CDC said the airborne transmission covers a larger distance than 6’ and stays airborne longer than first thought. Unfortunately, the CDC is no longer trustworthy since we know politicians were deciding what information would be posted there.
  • This past weekend we bought more fall vegetable starts. More spinach, kale, lettuce, shallots and garlic. Hopefully we will get them planted today.
  • The weather has turned cool. Our low last night was 47°F and has now warmed ip to 58°F. With the humidity also low, I can almost breathe again.
  • We have seen a number of migrating birds making a stop at our feeders on their long voyage south. The news is not good for migrating birds in the west. Between sudden cold weather and fires in the west. Hundreds of thousands of birds have perished. You can read the article posted on Audubon.org.
  • Hubby found an old Scuppernong grapevine on our property – in much need of care. He picked a hand-full of grapes and brought them in the house. The aroma takes me back to my childhood – the smell such a distinct one. It will be the source of another story about my childhood coming soon.
  • Last week we had 8 inches of rain, 6 inches of which fell in one day when Hurricane Sally came through south of us. This week looks to be seasonally sunny and mostly dry. It is the kind of weather I thrive in.
  • The death of Justice Ginsburg is having political impacts here in the U.S. donations from democrats have reached record levels. Sadly, she will most likely not receive the respect she deserves from this administration.
  • The stock market also took a major hit with the news about the spread of the virus and the anticipated struggle about filling Justice Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court.
  • Good news, good news, good news…think. My family is well and healthy thus far. My joy comes in the little things. Video chats with my grandchildren, and text and phone conversations with family help keep us going. It is a lonely existence otherwise.
  • We started watching “Top of the Lake” on Netflix. I also saw that “Call the Midwife”, season 9 is available now, too. I have not had the mental focus to read much of late.
  • I did make stuffed peppers out of our garden harvest which turned out well. Now I look forward to making a hearty soup this week. It is that time of the year.
  • And last but not least. I am looking for recommendations of bloggers to follow in Ireland. If you have any, post the link in the comments.

Have a good week. Stay in, mask up and stay healthy.

 

Blog

To Everything There is a Season

This morning I woke to a smattering of leaves, fallen on the driveway. They are the first stitches of the fall quilt that will soon blanket everything. I made new hummingbird food for the feeder, which may be the last of the season. The last brood of bluebirds have been very active, the juvenile birds flapping their wings, beaks wide open waiting to be fed.

There are signs of the approaching fall everywhere, yet life still struggles to hang on. While the dogwoods change color and their berries turn red, little wildflowers make their way to the surface, determined to be seen, yet so small they are easily overlooked.

I welcome fall, but there is a particular melancholy that floats through the air like the last butterfly of the season. It is the acknowledgement that life moves on, everything having its own season. I am very aware of the feeling as I feel the loss of a summer lost to the virus. When I think we have lived in this uncertainty for a full season, it seems unfathomable.

It feels like the months that follow after losing a loved one. The loss heavy on your senses, changing the taste and smell of everything. The uncertainty of tomorrow while trying to hang on to what once was. Will life ever be the same?

I long for my family. To share a cup of coffee, or snuggle into each other to watch a movie we have seen a thousand times. There is comfort in the familiar. Knowing how the story ends leaves time for hugs and giggles and enjoying the presence of those we love.

Our blueberry bushes produced so many blueberries this year. Yesterday I made blueberry pancakes. My seven year old grandson said he missed me and remembered when he came to my house and he had pancakes with smiley faces. He feels the loss, too.

Tomorrow I will celebrate the change of seasons. Today, I sip my coffee, allowing myself to feel the heaviness of a summer lost. Just for today, I want to breathe it all in.

 

Blog

1LinerWednesday – Come Ride With Me

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
L. M. Montgomery

Yesterday when we saw the prediction for two days of rain we decided to rearrange our day and take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The rain and wind coerce the leaves to fall to the ground creating a caramel-colored brown carpet woven of the remnants of summer. We wanted to see the splendor while the trees still had the color in their hair.

The black bear cubs were out again where we had seen them a few weeks before. I captured a couple of photos and a short video. At the end of the video when the bear retreats into the woods, you can hear him growl if you listen closely.

I tried to capture a little of the winding road as we weaved in and out of the trees. The light plays tricks as it changes from sunlit spaces to dark protected shadows.

Hubby snapped a photo of me in front of this vibrant red tree. I am not sure what was with that stance — ha!

And these photos that follow? They need no explanation.Just enjoy them. I certainly did enjoy taking them.


What wisdom can you convey in one line? 1LinerWed is brought to us by Linda Hill. For all the rules and to read all the other offerings, click here ===> Linda G. Hill

Be sure to read all the comments and see how others handled their one line.

Blog, Family, friends, Mountains, nature, rainy day, Weather

Mindfullness

Day 33

We had to leave home early today to take my car for service. It’s an import, so no one in my little town works on them. The drive down takes about an hour and hubby follows me down since the service takes a good part of the day. We usually have scheduled errands or appointments that take up the day, but today was not one of those days. After we dropped the car off we had a late breakfast and decided to spend the day just going where the wind blew us.

The Drive

IMG_7549The drive down was a little precarious. We ran into some heavy rain and wind. As I drove I watched the wind whip through the trees. A lot of the leaves fell from the trees making me thankful we took Sunday to drive the Parkway for the last time this year. I would imagine in a few days, much of the color will be turning a rusty orange and fall will slowly inch toward winter.

Even with the rain, the view was beautiful. The road has small hills and valleys and lots of curves. In the valleys, the temperature combined with the humidity to create a beautiful steamy fog in some places. I kept thinking about how lucky I was to be there in this moment to experience the drive. The leaves on the ground were wet and reflective like glass. So beautiful in their simplicity.

People

Today I saw several people who had very blank expressions. I am a people watcher and try to be cautious I do not make people nervous. The few times people caught my eye I simply smiled and their face lit up and the returned the smile. I love it when that happens. We can all spend so much time internalizing and turning inward, it’s nice when we let our guard down.

We spent some time ‘window shopping’ at the mall. I bought a latte at Starbucks to sip while we looked through a few of the stores. A beautiful woman working behind the makeup counter at one of the department stores commented about how good the coffee looked. We chatted for a moment, she told me she was returning to Atlanta tonight — going home. She seemed genuinely happy at the thought.

Giving Thanks

Today I gave thanks for so many things that crossed my path. The rain, the people, the sky and little messages I received throughout the day. I read a heartfelt message from my daughter which made me so thankful that my children are in such a good place. They love each other dearly which is what I always hoped for. Siblings that are there for each other when things get tough are a godsend.

We have such a wonderful blended family and that is such a blessing to me. We all enjoy each other’s company and spending time together is always fun. We have started to make plans for Thanksgiving and a few events in December so the season is already getting off to a good start.

Listening

IMG_7706I am so thankful today that I can be here when people need someone to talk to. I have had several friends and family with heart wrenching situations this past week. To be here as a shoulder or a friend or a confidant makes us all feel better. I was always a better listener than a talker, so perhaps it is just part of my reason for being here. Regardless, I am thankful that we can be here for one another.

Today has been about mindfulness. Observing my environment. Connecting with people and giving thanks. Days like this make me realize that none of us are ever intended to travel this life alone. It took so little to gain so much today. I am so grateful. Every day, no matter where we are or what tasks lie ahead, there is much to be mindful of.

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child—our own two eyes.
All is a miracle.”
Thich Nhat Hanh

 

 

Blog, Family, grandchildren, Holidays, Writing

Holidays at Home

Day 6

It is early October and I am already thinking about the holidays. I love the hustle and bustle of this time of year. I do not go out shopping near as much now that we are retired, but I love to bring the holidays home.

Fall Holidays

In years past, we loved to do the house up big for Halloween. Partially because it is my husband’s favorite holiday and also because we always loved to see the kids come trick-or-treating. One year hubby even built a make-shift wooden coffin to decorate the front yard. Between the holidays we stored it up in the rafters of the garage. It was such a hoot when we put the house on the market. The realtor called after showing the house and said the client was very concerned that we had what looked like a coffin in our garage.

We now have a granddaughter who was born on October 31st so it has become more about her birthday than celebrating Halloween. Being closer, we may not see her on the exact day of her birthday, but we try to make a trip to help her celebrate. Of course, we also live in a rather remote location, so sadly, we no longer have trick-or-treaters.

I always think about my Dad at Halloween, too. Ghost stories were a big part of our youth and my Dad was the best story teller. He had a very deep bass voice which was very fitting for scary stories around a campfire or even just hanging out at home. There was nothing like everyone gathered around hearing the same tall tales we had heard over and over again. Even though we had heard them many times, Dad still had the ability to startle you just at the right moment. I wonder if kids still like ghost stories?

Mystery Writing

IMG_7069The local library is having a Mystery Festival writing workshop next weekend. I am so tempted to sign up. It is a two day workshop featuring Wofford College History Department Chair Dr. Tracy Revels (a Sherlock Holmes aficionado) and Edgar Award-winning playwright and author Phillip DePoy. Sounds like a lovely way to spend a fall weekend.

Part of my love of these upcoming holidays is also related to my love for autumn. The trees are just starting to turn. The dogwood trees turn first and slowly other trees start to turn yellow, red and orange. We live in an isothermal region so our weather is rather mild and we usually enjoy fall color through Thanksgiving.

A Time for Family

Thanksgiving follows with lots of cooking, tradition and family. Family meals are a big part of the holiday for us, whether it is here or at the home of one of our children. We talk, laugh and give thanks for all our blessings throughout the year. It is also a time I really start to miss my family who have passed away, but I try to live fully while holding their memories close to me.

We had new floors put in our house last fall and changed our furniture layout somewhat. I am already imagining what furniture we will move and where to put the tree this year. We go to Waynesville, NC to get a tree but I will post more about that when we make our annual Christmas tree trek to the mountains.

IMG_7076I do not want to get too far ahead of myself in thinking about the months to come. But I will start to slowly bring out a few Halloween throw pillows and hand-towels. I will also try to coax my husband into unpacking our Department 56 New England Village pieces so we can enjoy them throughout this festive season.

In a couple of weeks we will take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway to see the fall color. I look at the small Japanese Maple we have and it’s burning red color change and am excited to see the mountains in full color. I hope it will be a vibrant year.

But right now, back to enjoying the first little glimpses of fall with anticipation of what lies ahead.

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“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” 
Lauren DeStefano