Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Walktober 2022, Chippewa Nature Center, Midland Michigan


Decades ago my grandma told me that time speeds up the older you get. Being the superior teenager that I was, I chalked the comment up to her being confused in her old age. (Which coincidentally was just about the age I am now.)

I stopped, early in the morning, on my way to Chippewa Nature Center, at Overlook Park just in case there were eagles. No eagles, but several bucks were having breakfast near the retention ponds at Dow.

Grandma, it turns out, was right.

And, as Robin says, here we are in October again. Another year is almost in the books and time is sliding by sideways while we aren’t paying any attention.

It was still quite early when I arrived, so I spent some time exploring a little pioneer farm display while I waited for the sun to come up.

Which I guess is why we need a Walktober, when you stop (which is the point) and think about it. Walktober is all about getting outside and noticing stuff.

A face only a mother could love.

Little stuff and big stuff, pretty stuff and interesting stuff. Stuff that makes you smile and stuff that stops you in your tracks and stuff that you’d never notice because you never slowed down enough to see.

The sun finally came up, trying to break through the clouds.

This year the coming of fall has been difficult for me. So I decided to do my Walktober in a place Katie and I had never visited together.

The morning light reflected in the schoolhouse window as I headed to the woods.

I have no memories of her at the Chippewa Nature Center, so there were no ghosts waiting to surprise me at every corner. She would have loved it there, trails through the woods always made her happy. But…no dogs allowed on the nature trails, so I carried her along with me in my heart instead.

Lots of color and shapes to focus on.

Even though Katie had never been here, I visited once, last February. During that trip the weather wasn’t cooperating and I couldn’t find the trailhead, and what I could find was covered in ice. I left after taking only one picture, and you all know that’s just about impossible for me to do.

This visit there was no ice on the trail, just a carpet of beautiful fallen leaves.

So I decided to try again, as a Walktober adventure and this time I definitely got more than one image, though once again the weather wasn’t cooperating.

A bit of fungus, a colorful leaf, against the backdrop of a decaying stump. Art in nature.

There was a mixture of bits of sun, lots of clouds, and, of course torrential rain combined with strong winds. Yep, a good day to wander in the woods.

A carpet worthy of attention.

I was specifically looking for warblers, those little birds that flit around, hiding behind leaves and high up in trees. They’re hard to catch a glimpse of, much less get an actual image. I might have seen one. Or two maybe, but the images were impossible.

Not a great image. And I don’t know what bird this is, with the little yellow dot near the eye.

Not enough light deep in the woods…not fast enough to bring the camera up when I saw something, not sure what I was even looking at.

Don’t know what this is either.

But it was fun trying.

Meanwhile the maple trees are stunning, and the trail, wandering beside the Chippewa River and through the woods was wide and easy walking. There was something pretty no matter where I looked.

Changed the lens to the wide angle for this beautiful spot.

And I can tell you one thing. The birds and animals knew I was in the woods way before I realized they were close.

Pay attention, lady, I’m standing right here!

I tried to take my own advice, learned from many other walks in the woods, to stand still and just wait quietly. I never see anything when I’m walking, even when I’m trying to be quiet.

We’ll let you get this one shot, and then we’re out of here!

I did see lots of birds when I stood quietly under the tall trees. The longer I stood there, the more emboldened the birds became, whizzing right by my head on a few occasions.

Good thing the leaves stood still for me.

I smiled, recognizing that I wasn’t going to get a great image, and relaxed, just enjoying their antics.

The little birds were flying circles around me.

At one point the sun poked out from the clouds and across a ravine I saw a field of red grass glowing. I know how fleeting light can be and there was no way for me to get over there in time, so I continued on with my meandering.

I love it when the sky is dark but some trees are still in the sun’s glow.

That turned out to be a fine decision because I ran into the most beautiful yellow tree while the sun was still shining, the trunk and limbs perfectly black against the gold.

The sun was just on the other side of this tree. For a moment anyway.

Eventually I found a track over to the field of red grasses and was focused on a beautiful tree along the trail when the sky went dark. And then I thought I heard rain coming from far away. But it was coming fast.

Such a pretty spot. Makes you want to linger and enjoy it….unless……is that rain I hear coming my way?

Torrential rain hit as I popped out into the field and assessed how far away the car was, realizing it was too late and too far to sprint. I was going to get wet.

Even the turkeys were heading for cover.

And I did. But that was OK too, the colors just intensified and I smiled as I wiped my glasses and increased my pace through the field.

I need to get way over there.

By the time I got to the car, mopped up a bit and decided to head home, the sun came back out. Of course it did.

I could go explore more trails…but I was soaked all the way through.

And on the way home the clouds were so good I just had to pull off the freeway and grab a shot or two or twelve. There might have been barns involved, but that would be content for another post.

Who could resist this scene?

Thank you Robin, for hosting Walktober again this year. I look forward to it every year, thinking about new places to explore, deciding when to schedule the walk, hoping for great color or at least some interesting new images.

Good advice on a stone at the exit.

I feel kind of sad that it’s finished, but then I remember….I get to go along with all of you on your Walktobers, and I can’t wait to see where you’re taking us this year!

My artsy-fartsy image from my Walktober at Chippewa Nature Center, October 13th, 2022.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

46 thoughts on “Walktober 2022, Chippewa Nature Center, Midland Michigan

  1. Beautiful, beautiful place and beautiful, beautiful pictures. Lovely thought of you carrying Katie in your heart. My favorite photo is the leaf with the fungi, but it certainly was hard to choose.


  2. Thanks for taking us along!
    Do you think the first unidentified bird might be a white-throated sparrow?
    And the second could certainly pass for a warbler, so you accomplished your mission!


  3. So much beauty when we take the time to look. Thank you.


  4. Your photos are beautiful, Dawn. Every single one of them.


  5. Beautiful photos. I definitely agree with your grandma about time speeds up as we age.


  6. Wow such nice photos! It seems I have not had time to just be all summer, good for you getting out!


  7. Thank you for this lovely walk, Dawn! The fall images are spectacular!


  8. Thanks for taking us along – even with the rain it was beautiful, but that shot of the coloured trees and amazing clouds is my absolute favourite! 😊


  9. Dawn, thank YOU for taking me along on your walk! Michigan is so beautiful, and you have a knack for finding just the prettiest things to point out to us. Love the way you talk about noticing stuff, too. And even though Katie wasn’t with you in person, she was there in spirit — I could almost hear her saying, C’mon, Mama, stop with the photos and let’s explore!


  10. What a gorgeous walk! October is spectacular in so many ways. I actually look forward to my commute in October because the foliage is such a gift every morning and afternoon.

    I’m glad you found a spot that brought you joy 😊. Thanks for sharing your exploring with us.


  11. Lots of great photos. It is so exciting to see wildlife isn’t it. The turkeys are great.


  12. Dawn, this is a beautiful post. I slowed way down to savor every word and image and had far too many “favorite” photographs to choose just one or even five. Beautiful! Thank you!


  13. I love the fall colors in your pics. We barely get anything work talking about in our part of Texas. Great pics love the trail and the leaves on the ground. Of course, I love wildlife.


  14. Spectacular pictures and creative angles. That golden tree was superb!!!


  15. Absolutely spectacular! I thought photo #4 was my favorite until I got to #5, and then #6 … and then, well, then … how many favorites is one allowed? 🙂 Spectacular.


  16. Oh, Dawn… you captured such beautiful images! That yellow tree is magnificent! Thank you so much for all of this (words and images and YOU). ♥♥♥

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I love your beautiful images, your fabulous sense of humour, your deep sense of loving the moment.
    You strike me as someone very similar to me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. A beautiful choice for Walktober, Dawn. I was sorry to read about your loss of Katie, she was a faithful sidekick. And to lose your aunt as well, it has been a tough time for you, I imagine. Sending you a warm hug from MA.


  19. I love that moment, standing under the tree with the golden light on the other side.. I’ve stood there before. Not that particular tree, or even that country, but the light ensnared me too. Quite magical.


  20. Beautiful pictures. Especially that golden tree with the black limbs outlined perfectly in the sun. And the deer too. It looks like a wonderful place to explore. 😃


  21. Me again, I just realized I have visited your walk already. You have a lovely blog Dawn and I will have to visit more often. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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