Favorite Trees And Fading Sunset

We have enjoyed a long run of gorgeous fall days. That all ends today when it turns rainy and cooler. Tomorrow will be rainy and cold, ushering in what appears to be a long patch of cooler days and cold nights.

The rain isn’t so thrilling but it’s hard to get excited about the impending holidays when it’s 68 degrees and sunny. So I’m kind of excited to see the mercury drop and maybe stop being such a grinch. All the same, I took advantage of yesterday’s sunshine with a short walk after work at Kinnikinnick Fen near Chillicothe. I have favorite trees everywhere I go and the picture above shows one of them at the Fen.

When I came home last night, the western sky was aglow with the remnants of sunset. You can see in the silhouette that the trees have lost their leaves. These are some of my favorite trees here at home – with or without their foliage.

It was a remarkable end to the day and to this streak of fine fall days. Better pack your umbrella and put on those galoshes if you’re out and about today. You will need them!

A Broken Record

At the risk of sounding like a broken record – I hiked again last night. Yesterday was gorgeous and warm enough for short sleeves. It was too nice to be inside so I headed to Cedar Falls.

The colors were muted and it was quiet out on the trail. The people I encountered seemed like true nature lovers who moved along the trail silently rather than the noisy tourists I often encounter.

This log reminds me of the Loch Ness Monster.

The roots and rocks are incredible on this trail.

Yup. That’s the trail. Cool, right?

As always, be sure to look up every chance you get.

Speaking of looking up- it’s almost the weekend! Happy Friday!

The Small Things

I once read that anyone can love a rose but that it takes someone special to love a leaf.

A friend recently lost her son, a toddler who left this life far too soon. He was quite the little adventurer who delighted in exploration and treasures big and small. He embodied the thing I preach most here which is to enjoy the journey and look for the interesting things around you – no matter where you go.

On my walk last night I collected a fistful of leaves, nuts and tiny flowers as a quiet way to remember him. It’s a small gesture but one that brought me joy.

There’s wisdom in finding beauty in the ordinary and joy in the everyday. In general, you’ll be more satisfied with life and live a bigger life if you can fully embrace your surroundings.

On this walk I embraced the day like a toddler with a fistful of colorful leaves and pinecones from the ground. I need to do that more.

Fall At Metahqua Nature Preserve

I called this spot “The Avenue.” The name is a nod to LM Montgomery’s famous character Anne Shirley who gave beautiful names to the beautiful places she loved. The Avenue was the name she gave to one such spot.

This heavenly place is at Metahqua Nature Preserve in Ross County. I went there Friday morning because someone told me the fall foliage around the pond atop the hill is always the most beautiful in Ross County.

And it is gorgeous but I loved this other spot more.

The light was golden, giving the foliage new life in a way that can only happen in mid October.

A hawk soared overhead as a white tailed deer sniffed the air. Both were embracing the day and living their best lives even while aging leaves released their hold on life and drifted gently to the ground.

These leaves provided a carpet of gold, brown, orange and red that crunched beneath my feet. They also provided that wonderful smell that defines fall. It really is just the smell of decomposition as those leaves break down and return to the earth but it always fills me with joy and even hope. There are better days ahead.

There is no cell service in this area so there were no interruptions save for a few squirrels as they busily darted about.

I absorbed all I could of this rare, beautiful, almost magical morning. It was fall and I wanted to soak in the sights and sounds and smells as much as my mortal body would allow. First breathing through the nose, then through the mouth so I could taste it too.

This place was more heartfelt, more beautiful and more sacred than any church. That moment was more holy than any I have experienced.

In case you wish to dawdle at this nature preserve, there are a couple of benches overlooking the pond.

Go into the woods, friends. Find a place that is quiet and almost heavenly and stand there. Allow your senses to engage in a way that simply isn’t possible other places.

You can thank me later.


Things were quite golden nearly everywhere I went in southern Ohio Saturday.

Here’s the view early morning at Lake Alma.

And a couple of hours later, to the south at Lake Vesuvius.

The sky was a gorgeous blue for much of the day and the aroma of campfire smoke hung in the air. It was a spectacular day to be out and to be free.

Fall Foliage

The fall foliage in Ohio has been disappointing so far this year. Experts say our peak will be a little later than normal but I suspect it won’t be grand. It has been hot and dry this fall and the leaves seem to be turning brown and dropping before they have a chance to turn pretty.

The best color I have seen in Ohio so far is at this lovely country church in the Hocking Hills.

I’ll swing by again next week to see how the colors progress. Meanwhile I keep thinking back on the foliage I saw in the mountains in West Virginia earlier this month. It wasn’t nearly as vibrant as it was last year but still quite pretty.

In fact, it was so pretty I hated to leave.