Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Walktober in times of covid

Part of our back yard showing up in fall colors.

I look forward to Robin’s Walktober all year. She has hosted it for many years, a period of time in October where we all go for a walk, take a few (or a lot) of pictures, and share the walk with all of you by linking back to her blog. She’ll gather all our walks and present them in a compliation near the end of the month.

Color in the trees dances with the clouds.

I had a lot of plans for this year’s walk. I’ve been thinking about it for months. There are a couple of bird sanctuaries I haven’t visited that I considered exploring. There’s a hilly park closer to home that I think is photogenic no matter the season that I could share.

Light plays in the dying maple leaves.

Our weather has been beautiful, sunny sky, trees bursting with color. Perfect for a Walktober. I just had to decide which direction to take you.

Bitersweet – summerizes how I feel about this fall.

And then covid.

Shortly after Katie did her Walktober covid invaded our house and now we’re isolating at home. My isolation will be up October 18, and though I know Robin would give me a few more days, I don’t know if I’ll be up to tromping up and down hills even then.

The pond across the road provides any number of photographic opportunities.

So this year, reluctantly, my Walktober has been around my own back yard. Katie says I shouldn’t feel sad, that we have a very pretty back yard, and she’s right.

Our yard is beautiful, especially when I’m in it!

Still, the adventurer in me wishes I could get up early some morning and drive across the state to somewhere not seen before. Wishes I could walk new paths, shoot new vistas, breathe free.

The oaks are beginning to glow.

So far the symptoms my husband and I are experiencing are mild, and we hope they stay that way. The hardest part, for me, is the staying at home part. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s only two weeks.

Last bit of summer hangs on for a few more days.

So, I hope you enjoyed the images in this post of my official Walktober meander through my back yard. And I hope each of you can go for a walk and share it with us too! Just link to Robin’s blog, we look forward to seeing another part of the world.

Royal color welcomes fall.

Especially since we can’t go there in person.

The view from our deck.


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2 smiles, one weekend

I’m a lucky lady, I got to experience two big smiles jammed into one weekend. Plus we are experiencing beautiful weather, warm and sunny with the trees starting to turn color. The morning and evening light makes the trees just glow.

But that’s a different blog post.

My first smile of the weekend was Saturday evening when I got to play in a pop-up concert with some of my Clarkston Community Band mates and several professional musicians who came to fill holes in our orchestration.

The neighbors came out to listen to us play on their cul-de-sac.

We haven’t played together since early March. Many of us haven’t played at all since then, though most of us frantically practiced these past few days trying to get our lips back in shape. The professionals sightread the music and sounded wonderful. I was grateful to get to play with them.

Thankful for these guys coming to help us out.

It was a lovely night and we are reminded again why we play long after school ends. As our Director, Ms. Roland said, tonight we’re not talking about politics or bingewatching silly shows on TV, we’re not thinking about virusus or worried about the future.

ALl about the music.

Tonight it’s about the music. And what a relief that was.

Keeping us in time.

I hope the neighbors who came out of their homes, sat in lawn chairs and waited while we did a little rehearsing before we began, I hope they had as much fun as we did.

Making a big sound.

But I don’t see how they could have had more.

He’s played with us since he was a kid, now grown up and still making music.

Then this morning I did a virtual 5K with my friend Tami who lives in California. So that we could run/walk together she went out at 6 a.m. while it was still dark, and I waited until 9 am. here, an hour or more later than I would normally go out.

At the turn around point.

It was a compromise on both our parts because we wanted to motivate each other. Compromise works, I wish it was something that happened more in our world, but I’m not going there in this post.

Nope, this post is all about smiles. I hope you had something fun to do, or pretty to see, or beautiful to listen to this week.

As we march toward November we all need to remember to smile. And that’s as political as I’m going to get today.

Trombones all in providing the bass sounds.


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Planning a Walktober

A rainy day for a walk, still the colors were great.


Those of you new around here might not know what a Walktober is. It’s one of my favorite things to do in the fall and I’m delighted that Robin, over at her blog Breezes at Dawn is going to host it again this fall.

I’ve been doing her Walktober for a number of years, I should go back and count how many, and I always enjoy it. Sometimes even Katie joins in, and you know what a princess she is!

Katie shared her backyard last October.

Walktober is just what it sounds like. You go on a walk, in October, take a picture or a few pictures, (or a lot if you’re like me) and write a post on your own blog, linking it to Robin’s. At the end of the submission time she will post and link to everyone’s walk and we’ll all get to see what other parts of the country or the world look like in October.

Maybe you’ll find flowers to share with us!

So think about it. If you wanted to show us something you value and enjoy near you, where would you go? Visit a favorite spot, between October 3rd and the 18th, then link your post to Robin’s official Walktober announcement post (which she’ll have up prior to the start). That’s all there is to it.

Even if you pick a rainy day there will be something pretty or interesting to photograph.

It’s so much fun, you won’t ever regret getting out for a walk (or as Robin says, a bike ride, a skate, a run, a paddle or even a drive) in October!

Biking would be fun too.

And those of you living in cities shouldn’t feel left out. Last Walktober I took everyone on a tour of Detroit’s riverfront, with a side trip into a bit of the city. Feel free to take us for a walk anywhere! The more diverse posts we get to see the better!

Photos on this post are from several of my own walks around here these past few days. I can’t wait to see where you will take us all! See you soon!

Starting to show a touch of color now.


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A summer walk

I went out to one of my parks (not Katie’s, she doesn’t get to claim all of them) yesterday to go for a walk. It’s been too long since I’ve been there.

I think the last time I did four miles out there was late spring when the skunk cabbages were coming into their own and the air was fresh and little spring flowers were blooming along the edges of the forest.

Well, the air was still just fine, but the skunk cabbage is past it’s prime and now the flowers of late summer are in full bloom.

Four miles might have been a bit ambitious on a hot August morning. But I forget I’m not so young anymore, and only months ago I walked 4 miles regularly so it didn’t occur to me to be more conservative.

Heading out was marvelous, a breeze in my face, lots to look at. I didn’t really want to turn around at mile 2, but some part of my brain decided to be an adult and demanded I make the smart decision.

I was beginning to feel the need for a restroom break, and there was a bathroom at mile 3, only one more mile down the path. If I turned around I’d have two miles until I got to a toilet, but my brain calculated (it’s a proven fact that math is hard when you’re hot and sweaty and have to go to the bathroom) that if I went a mile further I’d have to walk six miles total, and six is a number much bigger then four.

So I turned around, and was doing just fine until that last 1.25 miles. Which is uphill and mostly in the sun. With no breeze. That mile was pretty miserable.

As I got to the steepest part of the walk, only a quarter mile long, but still, part of my brain began arguing with the other part. There was a lovely bench under a big old oak tree part of the way up.

I could sit on that bench for a spell. That’s why they put it there. For folks like me who could be categorized as elderly. Yep, could sit right there under that tree. Bet there’s a breeze there.

The other half of my brain argued back. Not going to sit on that d*#% bench. Sitting on the bench would delay arrival at the bathroom. And the car with it’s bottle of water.

But it’s a nice bench, there in the shade. No one else seems to want to sit there. It’s calling your name.

Not sitting on the d#*% bench.

Luckily my feet were not listening to the argument and just kept moving.

Oh but wait…there’s a big image of a painting from the Detroit Institute of Arts right there next to that bench. They’re advertising a collection being shown. There’s a short article next to it. You could go read all about it. In the shade. With the breeze. And you don’t have to sit on the bench.

A good solution, might even say a compromise, that pleased both parts of my brain and my feet didn’t mind either.

All the images in this post are from that walk, taken with my phone camera while moving along on a hot summer morning.


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Random thoughts from the yard

Covid has made me random in many ways. Random meals put together from whatever is here rather then running to the store to pick up a missing item. Random camping trips to get away while remaining isolated. Random walks through the yard instead of parks to avoid running into other people.

The sugar water is getting a little low, lady!

That’s not all bad, you understand. Some things we’ve learned to do during this strange time would benefit us to continue once the world returns to normal. If that ever happens.

Things like eating at home together instead of catching a meal on the fly. Doing with what’s in the pantry and not wasting gas and engery rushing to the store every day. Talking to neighbors on walks through the neighborhood instead of waving at them from your car as you drive somewhere else.

Three stages of bloom.

Recognizing your home is not such a bad place to be, even while yearning for exploration and adventure.

I was weeding when I noticed a large monarch butterfly hovering around a hydranga tree filled with beautiful white blossoms. Such a pretty image I went inside and got the camera.

Pink zinnia impersonating purple coneflowers.

Of course he (or she) wasn’t anywhere to be found when I got back outside. But lots of other things were.

The images in this post were from that brief weeding interlude. I should be content in my yard, it’s a pretty amazing place.

In the wild part of the yard.

But the road has always, and continues to, call me.

I have a friend in the UP (Upper Peninsulia of Michigan for those of you not from around here) who has a group of women friends that gathers regulary to camp, along the shores of Lake Superior or the banks of a river. They kayak and sit around the fire and talk and I wish I could be there too.

Centering.

I think I need to put together a group like that down here in lower Michigan. A few other women who like to camp and would like to camp together somewhere once in awhile.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my camping solitude too, and Katie and I love to spend that time together. But sometimes it would be nice to have a group of people who would like to explore together.

The light bounces.

So who’s in? Could we manage to socially distance while camping? Dogs or no dogs, tents or RVs, who’d like to go…and where?

Pink and green coexisting.

The possibilities are endless.

New possibilities.


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Aha! I KNEW you missed me!

Katie here. Finally. Mama told me that since I was getting older and not going on any adventures lately that I was obsolete. Yep, I think that’s the word she used. Might have been redundant, it was a big word that I had to look up and I didn’t like it one bit.

This is me walking away from mama cause she asked me to sit for a picture. I’m a princess. She forgets that.

Anyway, I thought I should check mama’s blog and see what she’s been doing, cause it hasn’t been with me, that’s for sure! Looks like she’s been having fun…and with CATS! I thought I smelled cat on her when she came home last weekend, but I was napping when she arrived and really, it seemed like a lot of work to bark at her so I just went back to sleep.

No, I’m not too upset by her taking a get away without me, cause I really don’t like cats and I’m pretty sure that Ringo dude would have wiped the floor with me, so it’s just as well she left me with daddy. Daddy and I are buddies, we have lots of fun when mama is away.

Don’t tell her I said that.

Ok, mama. I’ll stand for a photo, but I’m not sitting.

No, what I’m upset about is that some of my fans, namely Miss Debbie and Miss Loisajay, asked about me and mama didn’t even tell me! They said the pictures of flowers from our garden would look better if I was included. Well of course they would! I am a princess and a princess always enhances any decor, inside or out.

So anyway, yesterday I gave mama a scare, just to get even with her ignoring me. Yep, we were on our walk around the yard after supper and mama was letting me stick my nose into whatever I wanted (frankly I think she was feeling guilty about the ignoring thing) and she was contemplating the green trees and blue sky when she thinks she saw me grab a berry off a nightshade plant. She lunged at me to pry my mouth open (which I do not allow, by the way) and she thinks she saw me swallow.

This is Davis Lake. My park overlooks it, which is why it’s called the Davis Lake Overlook park. I just call it Katie’s Park II

Yep, mama was in full on panic then. She picked me up and she raced inside and she looked up nightshade and found a site that said even two berries could kill a toddler. Oh my dog! She called my dad who wasn’t home, and then she called the vet to get the emergency number and then she called the emergency vet office where she was put on hold.

Mama is not very patient.

Finally they told her someone would call her back. Mama paced. I, however was very calm and took a nap beside the sofa. The vet tech called her in about ten minutes and told her they didn’t have a protocol for knowing how much of any certain plant could damage any sized dog and she should call animal poison control. Then the vet tech went on with a lengthy spiel about why they couldn’t help mama, and mama cut them right off and asked for the phone number. Did I mention mama is not very patient?

This is me smiling because I’m having fun.

She called poison control which had a long prerecorded message about what the vet would ask about and then said it would cost $75 on a credit card before a vet would speak to her. Mama hung up and started researching how to make me throw up.

Then daddy arrived home and they gave me something that tasted terrible and almost instantly I threw up most of my supper and there wasn’t any berry. Mama and daddy decided they’d just watch me for a little bit before they spent $75 to talk to a vet when maybe mama didn’t really see me eat that berry.

I told them they could watch me all they wanted, but I was going to go sleep on my new princess bed that daddy got me and if they could please be quiet while they watched me I’d appreciate it.

I walked right up to the camera cause I wanted a treat. Mama said that was OK and rubbed my ears.

And I also mentioned that I’d probably be really hungry about 4 a.m. and maybe they should consider being nice to me and feeding me breakfast early. Because they owed me.

So this morning I was just fine, even at 4 a.m. when mama got up with me and let me have a little something to eat. And later in the morning she took me to one of my parks for a short walk, cause, as I may have mentioned, she owes me.

I let her take one artsy-fartsy picture.

And that’s all the excitement around here. I didn’t eat the stinking berry, I never do stuff like that, and mama should have known better. But mama says better safe than sorry sweetie. I don’t know what that means, but I do know a princess does not like to throw up in front of her subjects.

Mama says I’m getting grey hair. I told her she should worry about her own hair and leave mine alone.

So let’s not do that again any time soon, OK mama?

Home, mama! (but thanks for the walk too)

Glad we got that straightened out.

Your girl, Katie.

That short little walk was just perfect for a princess like me!


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The birth of summer

Katie and I went on an early morning walk around the yard today. It was already hot, the kind of hot that reminds me of summers growing up. Some of you remember those days, oppressive heat pressing down on you even early in the morning. Sweaty sleepless nights with a rattling box fan ineffectively moving the stifling air.

Morning light slices through our backyard.

As kids all four of us got to spend a week at grandma’s house on the farm each summer. No air conditioning there either, but I don’t remember being so insufferably hot in the big old farmhouse. We each got to choose the week, though I remember in later years my uncle requesting my brothers during certain harvest weeks.

Neighbor’s flag celebrating in morning light.

I usually tried to be there when the wild black raspberries were in season. They grew behind my grandpa’s work shed and every morning I’d go out and pick a small bowl of them, and grandma and I would put them on our breakfast cereal. So good.

Katie and I shared these in the backyard.

And I remember the summers when I was much younger and my folks bought a lake lot with the intention of building a cabin someday. I remember the orange lilies blooming in the ditches on the road to the lake.

Bringing back memories.

They always represented summer to me. Now when I see them I am instantly transported back to that lake lot and the summer days spent swimming off the dock and rowing the big green rowboat.

Queen Anne’s lace getting ready to spring into summer.

This morning while Katie was busy sniffing I was noticing so many reminders of summers past, right in my own back yard. Lots of evidence, too, that summer is progressing regardless of the craziness happening in the world.

Looking for something to cling to.

Even as we stay home, curtailing plans, missing family, time is moving and mother nature is pushing forward. A lesson, I guess, for all of us not to give up hope either. For more than sixty years I’ve watched summer unfold, leaf by leaf, petal by petal.

I guess I should stop worrying about what tomorrow will bring and just let it be.

Sneaking quietly into summer.


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Multiple objectives on a walk in the park

Katie gets me up early every day and today I should thank her because I used her motivation to head down to Kensington, my favorite park, which is about 40 minutes south of where Katie and I live.

The woods was full of light and dark images. Should this be the “one” for the weekly photo challenge? No…I don’t think it’s quite right.

You’ve been on walks with me there before – would you like to come along on this one? Are you sure? It’s going to get a bit long, but there are benches strategically placed along the way in case you’d like to stop for a bit.

This is a pretty bench, should I convert it to black & white for Cee’s challenge? No, I don’t think this is the perfect bench shot yet.

Speaking of benches, that was one of my photo objectives because benches is the subject of Cee’s Black & White photo challenge this week. And Nancy’s Photo a Week Challenge is all about light and dark.

Plus I needed something for Trent’s weekly smile challenge.

Surely that drop of early morning mist will make you smile.

So I headed into the woods hoping I could find beautiful things that would satisfy those three challenges. Because when you go into the woods you just never know what you’ll find…but you know you’ll always find something.

This is light and dark, but so much like my Wordless Wednesday post, maybe it’s not ‘the one.’

Truth be told I headed to the most remote trails first thing this morning hoping that I’d see some deer and maybe even some fawns. I got to the park at 7:30 and almost wished I’d arrived earlier, though it was hard to keep an eye out for deer when the path was so full of roots and rocks just waiting to trip me up in the dark, damp woods. I sure didn’t want to fall, so I was being extra careful.

Lots of places for a person like me to trip.

But I did catch this doe. (6/6 edit: Let’s thank Linda for noticing that this ‘doe’ has the beginning of antlers! You can enlarge photos by clicking on them, and apparently she did! This is a he, so I’m changing all the shes and hers to hes and his) He seemed to be alone and I wondered if he had a baby or two somewhere nearby. I only got one opportunity to get his picture, then he dashed away. I liked how the light made his ears pink. I looked hard for a fawn hidden somewhere near but I didn’t see one.

Get your shot lady, I’m not sticking around!

Eventually the soft forest trail turned into a sort of mowed pasture path. The grass was long and wet. I stopped and tucked my pants into my socks and sprayed my ankles with deet. I’d never been on this part of the trail and I was curious what might be ahead.

Turns out the path went right by this small pond with it’s accompanying….bench.

A good place to rest if you have bug spray.

Yes, I thought to myself, now this is the perfect bench for Cee’s Black & White challenge. I stayed there for a bit, trying different angles, but eventually the mosquitoes made me move along. Mosquitoes are like that.

After a couple of miles the trail headed back and reconnected with the more popular paths. I figured I wouldn’t see any more deer. But I was wrong.

She was busy watching another woman who was coming toward me on the path.

A woman talking on her phone was coming toward me and she captured the doe’s attention.

I edged closer.

I cropped this so you could see her eyelashes. She looks surprised but she didn’t mind me at all.

She let me take as many photos as I wanted as long as I didn’t move fast. In fact it seemed like she was posing.

Did you get my good side?

She was definitely a nursing mom, but I didn’t see a fawn hidden anywhere nearby, and she didn’t seem nervous, so maybe it was napping further away.

Continuing on I heard a rustling in a pile of last year’s oak leaves. I expected another chipmunk or squirrel, there had been dozens of them rushing around the forest floor.

Mr. (or Mrs.) Snake went slithering off in search of breakfast.

Still looking for a perfect light and dark image, I noticed these ferns. Very pretty. Definitely light and dark there.

I liked the deep color and the repeated pattern, but it’s not ‘the’ image.

But maybe it’s not exactly right for the challenge.

Moving along, still on the lookout I noticed this perfect dandelion sitting in a puddle of sun.

The light made the seeds glow against the dark background. Still…it’s not quite what I wanted.

But I’ve done a post about dandelions. And I was hoping to find something new.

Definitely light and dark. Hmmmm…maybe it’s the one.

Meanwhile I was pretty much smiling the entire walk, but these guys, grooming themselves and oblivious to me made me grin.

You’d think we could get some privacy here.

And the light off this opening blossom made me smile too.

Pretty in yellow.

But what would be the perfect light and dark image for Nancy’s photo challenge? There were so many to chose from.

In the end I loved this one. One of the first images I took at the beginning of my walk when the sun was barely up…the dew lining the edges of the leaves.

This one met two objectives – light and dark and it made me smile.

After I got out of the woods I wandered over to the boardwalk that lines the lake where a giant heron rookery lives. The baby herons are now teenagers and huge! Mom and dad herons are very busy trying to feed their demanding children. There is a whole lot of activity, and even though I had already met my objectives I couldn’t help but stop for awhile and watch the goings on.

But this is already long enough. If you want to see the craziness that was visible from the boardwalk you’ll have to wait for the next post. In fact I’m thinking about going back tomorrow morning, getting there earlier and spending more time watching the rookery and the lake that surrounds it.

Wait. What? You say you want to see the herons now? Well here’s a taste.

Incoming parent, hungry teens wait for lunch!

But there will be more. I promise. You never know what I’ll come back with!

Very cool tree art.


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In the woods on a rainy afternoon

Katie here.

Yea, I know. I was just here a few days ago. But really, wouldn’t you rather hear from me than watch television news? Of course you would.

What’s over that way, mama?

So I was guarding the house er, napping this afternoon and mama said I looked old. My head was up but my eyes kept closing and then my head would droop and then I’d wake up and try to keep watch again. Just resting my eyes, you know.

Why do I always have to wait for you, mama?

Anyway, mama asked me if I wanted to go to a park. She said she was going a bit squirreley herself, being in the house so much. Huh. I didn’t know mama could be a squirrel — maybe I better watch her more carefully.

Are you really a squirrel, mama?

The next thing I know I’m in the car and we’re driving to a park! Mama told me we had camping reservations for next week at this park but the reservations got cancelled cause of the virus.

Mama is sad about that and said we could at least walk in the woods near the campground. She said it would be beautiful even though it was sort of raining on us.

Mama thought these raindrops were pretty. I think they were just wet.

Mama was right.

The trees are beginning to leaf out and they are that pretty early spring green. No one else was there. There weren’t even any mosquitoes!

She spent way too much time on this silly acorn.

Mama spent a lot of time taking pictures of little things she thought were pretty. I don’t get it. There’s nothing out there more pretty than me!

Seriously mother? It’s a leaf. Who cares about a leaf?

Sometimes when she took too much time on things not me I’d huff at her. She told me I was being annoying. Do I look like I’m annoying her?

Well, yea. Sometimes I can be a little bit annoying.

Well. Maybe just a little.

And another thing. She told me I looked old. Do I look like I’m old to you?

I don’t like to be left behind. Plus she has treats.

I didn’t think so. Of course this was the only time I ran like this, and I didn’t do it when she asked me to, I did it just because it was fun. Mama was lucky to get the shot. I got a treat for that one!

Anyway, we had a lot of fun walking in the woods. We didn’t walk real far, because it was over 60 degrees (15.55C) and kind of humid. That makes it sort of uncomfortable for me. Frankly I’d like it if it snowed every day, but I guess that’s not what most people want.

Mama found some yellow flowers for me to sit next to. I think she’s taking this yellow flower project too seriously.

After we got done with the walk in the woods mama said we should check out the boat launch because the sky was getting kind of interesting.

I didn’t mind making another stop at all, even if we were approaching my supper time and normally I’d want to be home so as not to miss it. I’d had quite a few treats on our walk so I was good for a little more adventure.

Even with all these clouds it wasn’t raining on me.

It was beautiful out there at the lake! Some people were fishing but we maintained our social distancing just fine.

I posed for mama whenever she asked and when it started to rain and she wanted to go back to the car I didn’t want to go! Mama says I am stubborn, I say I just know what I want.

Two guys and a boat made a nice picture.

And a princess, always, should get what she wants. So we walked for awhile longer in the nice cool rain. It was wonderful.

Pretty colors and a bit of rain.

I’m a happy princess now. I haven’t had an adventure like that in a long time. Mama says it’s to make up for not being able to go camping next week.

I told her she better get the tent put up in the yard, one walk wasn’t going to make it up to me.

If you agree, please let her know. The more people telling her I deserve a couple nights in the tent the better!

Thank you,
Your girl Katie.

Glad you could come along with me on my walk!