Walk in Wonder
It’s late autumn in the far southern part of the United States. I’m enjoying late afternoon walks near my house and here are ten things I’ve noticed while walking:
- The warmth of the late afternoon. No matter how cold the mornings are starting, by the late afternoon, I don’t need a coat to walk outside. The same temperature in the spring feels much cooler, I think because the earth is retaining cold. But at this time of the year, the earth is retaining warmth.
- The trees have such variety! Some are golden yellow (no red ones on my walk), others have no leaves, some have barely started to change. But overall, the branches are more bare and it is a definite look of autumn. Interestingly enough, our crepe myrtle is nearly bare and our neighbor’s tree, which borders our yard, is still green and lush with leaves. I wonder if they watered it more when it was so hot in the summer.
- The clacking of the leaves as they fall or bang against each other. I always know when summer is ending because while the leaves are still green and on the trees, they’ve dried out and make noise when they hit against each other. That accelerates in late fall though – dried leaves on the pavement and sidewalks has a distinctive sound. It’s melancholy – winter isn’t far behind – and a signal that it’s time to put summer to bed and get ready for winter.
- The crunching of the leaves under my feet as I walk. My grandsons (and their mother before them) love to drag their feet and hear the leaves crunch. Even my beagle enjoyed it! If there was a big pile of leaves somewhere, he had to walk through it both to sniff what was there and I really think he enjoyed hearing it too.
- The street can be slippery with all the leaves, especially when it’s wet. I have to be careful to not walk on top of a bunch of leaves on the pavement. I can feel them slipping under my feet on some days; I walk in the middle where there’s less leaves and my footing is more sure.
- Our neighbors are burning leaves and a tree that they’ve taken down. It’s more smoke than I’d like when I’m near it, but when I’m at the other side of the neighborhood, it smells good. Burning leaves has always been a sign of autumn and goodbye to summer.
- With the leaves down, there’s so much more sunlight on my face as I walk. I have to make sure I bring a hat, although even with more sunlight, it’s not always warm. Somedays I still need a coat, especially when I’m in the shade.
- I love the light at this time of the year! No matter when I take my camera out, it’s always a warm yellow, from morning to late afternoon. I don’t take my camera to walk around the neighborhood, but I still observe the gorgeous light that the autumn brings, from the trees to the house windows to the overall scenery.
- A neighbor is using their outside grill. I can smell the meat cooking and the charcoal. It’s making me hungry! It also reminds me to buy a pork shoulder to smoke on my Big Green Egg this weekend. I love using the Egg in the cooler weather. I’m not fighting the bugs or mosquitoes and it’s very primal to play with fire when it’s cold outside.
- It’s so much easier to breathe at this time of the year. The humidity is down, but it’s not so cold yet that my bronchial tubes hurt. As a result, I can go farther and the hills aren’t so hard to walk up.
What are your favorite observations when you go for a walk at this time of the year? Please. . . add to my list!
Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens Seasons Walking autumn Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden walking
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I am a backyard adventurer, philosopher and observer, recording my life in journals and photographs. Visit my blog at www.livingtheseasons.com.
Best time to walk whether it is alone, with someone or the faithful dog.
I agree! It’s warm enough to be comfortable and cool enough to not sweat. I do miss having a dog to walk with, although not enough to get another one.
Thanks for stopping by! I enjoyed your blog.
Nancy, each of these brought back autumn memories to me. Especially the crunching of the leaves. Great post!
I’m glad you enjoyed it! I appreciate the feedback.
Wonderful blog Nancy! So glad to see you writing again! Can you email me your new address? I’m starting to think about Christmas letters!
Thanks so much for staying in touch! I’m thinking of Christmas cards too, but I’m not getting it together.
I enjoyed reading the wonders of your walk. I like your descriptions that made me feel like I was seeing, hearing, and smelling what you were.I also like that you kept them numbered. To my brain which likes order, it was a nice, easy read!
Cathy – What a pleasant surprise to have a comment from you!
Thanks for reading it. I enjoy the numbering too, although I’d commented to Sarah that it also rewards my linear brain a little too much. Some of the others doing the exercise were much more fanciful. I just don’t think that’s me though.
I’m glad you liked it!
A wonderful time of the year!! No. 4 is my favourite. I love walking Dot and watching her run in the fallen leaves.
Isn’t it fun to watch our pups do something like that? It’s such a small pleasure to crunch the leaves and just like the two-leged kids, they love doing it!
Wonderful observations! All of those things would be included in my list. For us, the change of season also brings a change in birds. The wintering birds have arrived and those flying south left us in October. The woods are filled with flocks of robins and yellow-rumped warblers.
This is our first fall in Georgia, so I’m not sure what’s migrating through (we just moved here in July). I know in Virginia – and I didn’t live that far from you – fall usually brought the Cedar waxwings and goldfinches. We had robins all year, but I’m pretty sure the winter ones were from farther north and the summer ones went south for the winter.
Thanks for reminding me of that!
I loved it all. Since My walking is severely limited, your autumn stroll was like a tonic for me. Thankyou for sharing!
Thanks for taking time to read my post! After being gone for so long, I was really hesitant to start it up again.
I’m sorry that your walking is so limited. I’ve had that happen myself and it’s really draining.
I did enjoy catching up on your blog. So many of the bloggers that I have from years ago have stopped blogging. I think you’re one of my first friends on WordPress.
Perhaps it’s because it’s now the season of my life, but fall is my favorite season (it used to be spring). I, too, really notice the change in the angle of the light, though it doesn’t depress me like it did when I lived in MN and knew what was coming. Cheers!
When I worked in downtown Richmond, I took my camera to work and took pictures everyday during lunch. It was so much easier in November to get good pictures! Not that it stopped me – I took pictures all hours of the day (and night) at work.
So interesting to read your version of Autumn. I feel that somewhere mid-way in writing this your “voice” shifted. It became less literal documentary and more felt documentary – if that makes sense.
Yes, that does make sense. About halfway through I ran out of ideas on what to write and had to really work harder at it.
Thanks for pointing that out – it helps me figure out what I need to improve.