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:

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

A Week In My Life

“I think daily life is the most beautiful and wonderful thing that anyone can have.” – Ana Tijoux

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Week 2 with A Month of Multiples (Kim Klassen) had several assignments, including documenting everyday life and real (raw) life. I combined them together to a week in my life.

This includes:

Walking at the local park – I love going here. It has paved paths which is nice when it’s rainy or I’m tired. The dirt paths give my feet and ankles a great workout, although I have to be careful not to trip. Best of all, it’s only a 5 minute drive from the house!

A day trip to do some photography – We drove to the western edge of Virginia to a town called Dayton. It was cute, we had a nice lunch at a local restaurant, chatted with a number of locals (our cameras and tripods created a lot of curiosity), and got some nice pictures. In this picture, the Blue Ridge Mountains are in the background.

Reading on the deck with a clingy old dog – He’s getting even more tumors and instead of being squishy, they’re rock hard. He’s not breathing right either. But when I go outside to read on the deck, he wants to be there with me. I’m loving him as much as possible while I still have him.

Trimming nails for the same old dog – Since he doesn’t go outside much anymore, his nails grow long really fast. I think it’s easier for him to walk if they’re short, but since he hates getting them cut, I’ve let them get longer. It’s not ideal, but I don’t want to argue with him over it anymore. It’s not fun for either one of us.

Taking a walk around the neighborhood – Between our subdivision and the sidewalks on the main roads, I can go a good long ways. I usually turn around at this corner, but I always enjoy taking a minute to enjoy how pretty it is.

Our crepe myrtle came in bloom a second time! – All the crepe myrtles came back in bloom recently and they’re even more lush than they were in July. We’ve never had that happen before, but they must be liking the cooler weather and rain.

Walking an old beagle twice a day – His walks are mostly sniffing for cats in the storm sewers these days, so he gets his own walk separate from mine. On the days it’s super hot or he’s limping, our walks consist of checking out the side and front yard. It makes him happy and helps him sleep better.

So that’s my raw and real life! Thanks for coming along and having a chuckle at how awesome my days are.

A Late Winter Walk

Path at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Richmond, Virginia
Path at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Richmond, Virginia

The world is but a canvas to the imagination.
– Henry David Thoreau

A few days before the official start of spring, I took a walk at one of my favorite places, the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. The shadows were lovely, even though the trees are still bare. The crocus were in bloom – just barely – so spring is definitely on its way.

Crocus at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Richmond, Virginia
Crocus at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Richmond, Virginia

The last time I shared pictures from the botanical gardens, it was still early fall (click here to see) and there was an abundance of colors all over. The day I took these photos did not have such. I still enjoyed being there, but had kept my expectations low as to what I would see.

The gazebo at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Richmond, Virginia
The gazebo at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Richmond, Virginia

When the leaves are down, I see things that are otherwise covered up. I made that observation years ago and it’s still true today.

Greenhouse from the side at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Richmond, Virginia
Greenhouse from the side at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Richmond, Virginia

Here’s another view of the greenhouse. I don’t normally stand this far back, but I loved the composition of the center of the greenhouse against the empty trees.

Front view of the greenhouse at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Richmond, Virginia
Front view of the greenhouse at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Richmond, Virginia

I also don’t normally photograph the bridge from the gazebo (my gazebo shots are usually taken from the bridge though!), but once again, I liked how the light played with the shapes. Plus it was pretty empty, so I didn’t have to wait so long to get pictures without people in them.

Looking at the bridge at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Richmond, Virginia
Looking at the bridge at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Richmond, Virginia

I’ve noticed when I walk the dogs around the neighborhood that the leaves are sounding like fall when they skitter across the blacktopped road. We have a lot of old oak trees around the homes here and they don’t drop their leaves until they’re nearly ready to start putting out new green ones. So everyday there’s more leaves on the grass, the cars, and skittering around in the wind.

Overlooking the pond at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Richmond, Virginia
Overlooking the pond at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Richmond, Virginia

I was cold. I didn’t wear a winter coat, but I was wearing a heavier hat and my fingerless gloves.

Self-portrait
Self-portrait

The greenhouse was its usual oasis of warmth and bright colors. I love going in there when it’s cold out! Years ago, a fellow blogger (Patti at A New Day Dawns) left me a comment that the greenhouse was like dessert after a cold day in the garden. I laughed then and I still laugh now at that, because that’s exactly what it reminds me each time I go in there when the garden has so little color. In fact, some of the pictures that I took in January 2012 had more color and foliage than I found in mid-March of 2015.

That statue had a little brown spider (most likely a wolf spider, nothing more) on its head. I didn’t realize it until I was nearly done shooting the picture and the spider moved! And yep, every one of my carefully composed pictures had that little spider on it. I did clone out of the final photo above. Still, wish I’d known it was there. I would have come back later to take the pictures.

20150312-726 Blog

 

I enjoyed the beauty of the day. No, it’s not the over-the-top cacophony of colors that I see from April to October. But it was pretty, the fresh air was great, and I enjoyed finding new photos that I wouldn’t have probably taken when the trees were in full leaf. It was a good day.

A Walk With Mom

Playing with my favorite toy - the squeaky soccer ball
Playing with my favorite toy – the squeaky soccer ball

Dear kind and gentle readers – yes, it’s once again me, the beagle.

I’m really liking Mom being home during the day.  Why?  Because she’s taking me for a walk nearly every day.  Oh such joy – I get to check pee mail!  Poop on the neighbors lawns!  And best of all, I’m finding all kinds of things to eat.

I go along, nose to the ground, when suddenly I get a whiff of something.  The other day at the park, I took off into the woods, shuffling through leaves that were nearly halfway up my short little legs.  Mom let the retractable leash out, not dreaming that I was on the scent of something yummy until I snatched up a stale bun.  Whoa – did she ever reel me in.  Worse yet, she dug it out of my mouth and told me I was a bad boy.  Then she threw it back into the woods.  I got the last laugh though.  As we walked away, I turned around, snatched it back up and nearly got it down before she dug it out of my mouth again.  ** sigh **  I was so close to eating it too.

I’m keeping a pretty good trot out there!  Mom’s getting a brisk walk in and so am I.  In fact, the other day she texted Dad that I was acting wild.  So she walked me around the entire park.  THE WHOLE PARK.  I could barely make it back to the car!  In fact, we were nearly there and I just ran out of mojo.  She finally coaxed me back to the car and then – this is so embarrassing – she had to boost my butt up into the car because I was too tired to hop in.

Where's the beagle next door?  I'll find him yet!
Where’s the beagle next door? I’ll find him yet!

For some reason, her and Dad found it incredibly funny when we get home.  Just because I stood there in the hallway, swaying on my feet and trying to sleep while keeping an eye on Mom.  Because I knew she was getting ready to take my brother, the Vizsla, out for his walk.  How dare she?  Those walks are for ME.  NOT him.  She left despite my vigilance and I made sure to howl and sob so she could hear me all the way out to the street.  Yeah, until Dad yelled at me to stop.  Hey!  I’m entitled to ALL the walks!  Who knows what I’m missing out there!?!?!

I slept the rest of the day.  In fact, I might have been snoring.  Dad complained about having trouble hearing the television, although more likely it was my brother.  I’m sure it couldn’t have been me.

Continue reading “A Walk With Mom”

New Year, New Routines

The beagle, Vizsla and miniature pinscher.  Do you have a treat?
The beagle, Vizsla and miniature pinscher. Do you have a treat?

This week’s photo challenge is new – something new for me in 2015 (to see how other photographers interpret it, click here).

What better for this than a picture taken New Year’s Day?  One of the first of the year.  I didn’t have much time for it – just seconds later, they were running over to see if I had a treat to share with them, like this:

Oh the joys of photographing pets!

As I settle into unemployment and looking for a new job, I’m developing new routines.  I haven’t written about routines for a while (see my last post here).  What I like about routines is the structure it gives to a day and how the many small decisions that are needed don’t have to take up much  mental space.  At the same time, routines need adjustment to keep them useful.  So along with job searching, what else is new in my routine?

Continue reading “New Year, New Routines”

Walking During Lunch

These last several weeks have been unseasonably warm.  I enjoy walking during lunch for my exercise and thought you might like to see Brown’s Island and the canal off the James River in downtown Richmond.

This is the bridge I take across to get to the island, shown from the far end.  Click here for a close up picture of the bridge from last year.

Of course, I like to check the sky and see what the clouds are doing.  It’s one of my favorite things about taking pictures.  They’re all different too.

The trees have started budding, which I don’t think is a good sign.  Our maple and oak trees in the backyard are waking up.  So are the mosquitoes and the flies.  My herbs never died back.

Instead of crossing on the bridge, I can also go down these stairs instead and walk on the near side.  I usually don’t as it’s just benches and concrete.  Some days if if I’m not walking and the weather isn’t too nasty, I’ll eat my lunch on one of the benches just to get away from my desk for a while.

This is the view from the left of the bridge (looking east).  There are several restaurants down that way and I can cross back over the canal and walk on the sidewalks into Shockoe Slip.  To see some pictures I posted last year of walking along the canal in that direction, click here and here.

This is the view from the right of the bridge (looking west).  I posted pictures from when that white bridge was put into place here.

This cool sculpture is along the walking path.  It’s called “The Headmen” and is a tribute to the African-American boatmen who were part of the development of commerce in the city.  The city has other sculptures around it and I will post those a different time.

This beautiful building behind the sculpture is actually a corporate headquarters.  Several times a year, tourists try to get in, thinking it’s a museum.

The trains still run along here.  This one rumbled by as I was walking.

Here’s a view of the river.  The water was very sparkly the day I took it, but my camera didn’t quite catch it.  Along with the warm days, the humidity has come back.  My distance pictures have a fair degree of haziness because of that.

Shortly after I took this picture, a kayaker came through.  I thought it was a bit fast and choppy in this section, but he made it through without a problem.

There are some interesting things to see during my walk, although when the leaves are down it’s pretty barren.

While everything has a beauty to it, the winter makes it more difficult to find the beauty.  I have to work hard to make it look pretty, by being selective about the angle of my shot and cropping closely when possible.

This is what I see from the far side of the island.  My employer is in the far building to the left.

The river is full of seagulls.  These were so big that I thought they were turkey vultures until they took off.  I took several pictures as I walked until I got one where they weren’t so black against the sky and I could see the gray coloring of the gulls.

I took my walk about 1:30 pm.  The sun is angled low at this time of the year.  I miss the endless summer days of living in the Midwest, but I do not miss the endless winter nights.  The sun may be low, but it is light longer at this time of the year.

From here, I can either go back through the island to get to the bridge or I can continue up the sidewalk.   If my time is getting short, I’ll just take the sidewalk back.  I’ll sign in at the health club that I worked out on the outside trails.

A lot of people are used to seeing me come back into work with the camera.  It’s a great conversation starter as people are curious what I took a picture of during my walk.  All kinds of things, I’ll say.  All kinds of things.

Taking A Walk In January

I got off work early enough on Saturday to take a walk at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens.

Not too surprisingly, the gardens were fairly empty.  The temperatures have dropped considerably and the wind had a bite to it.

I hadn’t intended to wear my winter coat to walk, but did so as I’d left my lighter fleece coat at the office from my lunchtime walks.

I was glad for the coat; shortly after I started walking, the clouds rolled in and the temperature dropped more as the wind got stronger.

The leaves have been gone for a while; the pitcher plants have died back.

But there was still beauty to be found.

It was rather bleak though and I found my mood matching it.

Which made no sense.  Work had gone well.  We’re over the worst of it.  My co-workers continue to be a strong team.  We care for each other and encourage each other to hang in there.

But I was tired and needing a nap.

I couldn’t resist looking at everything though, even if I didn’t know what it was.

It was nice being in the fresh air.

It was nice paying attention to look for beauty, even in winter.

I saw things I hadn’t seen before.

There was still a lot of green, from the pines to the ivy to the red berries.

As tired as I was, I went into the greenhouse to see what was there.  It was warm and there was no wind.

The Christmas tree was still up, but the flowers made me think of Valentine’s Day.

Then I came home, kissed my husband, cuddled some dogs, and took a nap.

Other walks are posted for March, April, October, and November.

For other ideas on taking a walk, visit A Daily Life to see examples of how others do this type of a post.

A Wonderful Friday in Six Words

I had a wonderful day today and thought I’d describe it in six sentences of six words:

robin sings brightly before dawn breaks

bright sun, fresh air, lunchtime walk

my camera stalks today’s new picture

work energy rises for yearend close

waxing moon crisp in navy sky

And for today’s picture, taken several years ago:

jealous dog stuffs into cat bed

© 2012 dogear6 llc

Yes, he did!  A jealous 55 pound dog decided to use the cat bed since the cat was on the desk with me.  I was surprised he fit so well.  Can you believe he curled up so small? I was surprised the cat didn’t refuse to use the bed after it smelled like dog.

Over at A Daily Life is guest post by Pam at Mushy Cloud.  She’s given us her list of questions to use in remembering what happened last year.  I encourage you to try them out.  It’s easier to remember now what happened for your future self than it will be to remember it five years from now.

I’d also like to thank KittyHere for passing along the six word challenge.

Surprising Advice

Life coach Barrie Davenport, in her blog Live Bold & Bloom, had a recent post about how emotions can sabotage our happiness.  She had some excellent insight into the myriad of reasons why this can happen, but I was surprised to see two of the pieces of advice that I use on days like that, but didn’t realize anyone else knew about.

The first was to take some Advil to help reduce inflammation and pain.  Some days when I’m out of sorts, I run a physical check on myself and ask if I’m just achy and uncomfortable.  If within 30 minutes I’m feeling much better, I know it was the thing I needed.  I tend to debate whether to take the Advil or not, but it does often help.

The second surprising piece of advice is that sometimes nothing helps but the passage of time.  Frequently, I have one really bad day a week and it’s usually on Tuesday, which is coincidentally today.  That is the day I am most likely to be exceessively tired and out of sorts, in despair for everything and feeling that it will never get better.  When my mornings start out that badly, the first thing I ask “Is Today Tuesday?”

Sometimes “Tuesday” comes on Monday, sometimes on Wednesday.  Here’s a post where this happened on a Wednesday.  I’ve had some success improving it.  Besides Advil, my tools eating a small amount of chocolate (seriously, it helps a lot some days) and taking a walk during lunch whether I feel like it or not.  I’ve also paid particular attention to not punishing everyone around me when I feel so bad.  It’s not their fault I’m having a crummy day for no good reason.

Other advice from Barrie includes having a change in scenery.  We used that a lot when our daughter was young and we lived in a house and town that we truly disliked.  By Saturday, we were often ready to fight with each other over stupid things.  I can’t tell you how many times my favorite boy toy packed us up for a forced march walk in the woods.  If nothing else, we came back too tired to fight anymore.  A good night sleep usually recharged all of us for dealing with the stress of our living situation.  When times got better, we moved.

It’s worth going through Barrie’s list and identifying your own hot spots.  Even if your improvement is limited, understanding when emotions are sabotaging you can help in containing a situation.

I do have a box for subscribing to this blog, but for some reason it is appearing at the bottom instead of  in the side bar.  Please scroll down to the bottom if you would like to subscribe.  If you are interested in how others interpret today’s word, check out KittyHere or There, or Anywhere and A New Day Dawns.

Today’s picture is straight from the camera – it was that nasty the day I took it and is how I feel on some Tuesdays.

© 2011 dogear6 llc

Word for tomorrow – DROWSY.  If you prefer to work ahead, see the list for the week under “A Word A Day”.