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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
And I can tell you one thing. The birds and animals knew I was in the woods way before I realized they were close.
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.
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.
I smiled, recognizing that I wasn’t going to get a great image, and relaxed, just enjoying their antics.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!