A kaleidoscope of lilac colored asters, sunlight scented grasses, burgundy sumac and holding the sky, an embrace of pines. This ever changing palette of colors form the backdrop of fall in northern Minnesota. I’m insatiable with this change of season. My eyes are overwhelmed by the hues, the daily shift in patterns and tone, the rich embodiment of earth in the scented air. I can walk each day down the same physical path, only to be met with a different look each and every travel. Frustrated with work? Upset with your spouse? Tired of zoom meetings? Step outside and find your connection.
“Filling the well” is more than a saying for me. After a day of meetings, scheduling more into the future, and feeling disconnected from life – this one act of stepping away from the electronics, the screens and the phones, brings me back to earth again. Grounded. Yet I forget almost every day that this simple act, of putting on shoes, or a jacket, and stepping outside – no matter if I’m in the city working or at home surrounded by forest, is all it takes to set me right again. Perhaps I need a sign over my computer “Step Outside Stupid.”
These fall days are fleeting. Maybe the knowledge of their temporary status sets us up for the rush of endorphins lilacs and golds, bronze and reds, rusts and saffron release to our brains. I can stand in place and drink in a 360 view of color with a palette so wild every cell in my body could hold a different color. What would it be like to be infused with color?
Walking down the forest path I am struck by the sunburst of dried grasses backlighting a 20 foot white pine, dark trunk and feathery needles surrounded by light. Or low alongside the path, single stems of lilac colored asters the only flowers left in bloom, silhouetted by chin high hazel in russet. Farther down the path, in a more open space big blue stem waves three seed heads of burgundy on stems of gold, head high. Aspen, gathered in the dip growing in community as they do, rustle their leaves in the afternoon breeze, calling attention to their sun colored glory. Even the older white pines join in this celebration of color for needles drop and die, especially before winter. Walking into a white pine woodland, the ground carpeted in needles of yellow curry catch my breath. In this season, splendor is shouting all around me.
A walk in the woods is barely a wander at this time of year for me. Walking a pace that brings your heart rate up carries me past all the small details of color, blinds me to curiosities in the path or alongside, and definitely keeps me from hearing all that is around me. I am overdue for a good sit in the woods.
Sitting in the woods used to be a regular thing with me. Walk a deer trail off the main path, find a ‘grandmother’ tree to sit resting against, and sink into stillness. Deer ticks have made this once nearly daily event a bit more challenging, requiring some deterrents, most often a blanket or some barrier to at least make the little buggers work at finding my flesh. Ugh. Deer ticks make me adore winter ski season. But back to sitting.
On a good day, when the neighbors are not leaf blowing, running ATV’s or cutting up trees, its possible to listen for the small lives that call the forest home. The rustle of a short-tailed meadow vole as she pokes along the edge of a downed log in search of food. Birds calling in the aspen and oaks, flitting from branch to branch, not sitting still. The wing-beat of ravens as they pass at tree top level, air beating down. Red squirrels, out gathering their stores of winter cones, choosing a small branch 20 feet over your head to scold you for invading their space. Occasionally, if you’re lucky, the muttered musings of a porcupine with much to say as he ambles across the forest floor.
Here’s my wish to you. Step outside, look up and look down. Be still, observe, wander and wonder.
Till next time.
Welcome, Aaniin, Sat Nam
I celebrate life and share my passion for learning, rooted in the natural world….
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
"My nose feels the gentle burst of air as the smaller nuthatch flies by my face to escape the chaser. Being brushed by the wings of a nuthatch is almost as good as having one light on your finger."
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