Macro Monday: Looking Down

I will admit…I have a thing for red leaves in the fall. Look what I spotted on a recent walk in the woods…proving once again that it always pays to look down!

I am often reminded of how fun it was to “preserve” (with a hot iron) fallen leaves between 2 pieces of wax paper a zillion years ago. I wonder if anyone still does that.

Lens-Artists Challenge: Colors of Autumn

Lens-Artists Challenge #167: Colors of Autumn

~~~

The colors of Autumn are peeking out…little by little…in my northeast corner of the US. I have chosen some old favorites to share in this challenge, as I think Autumn (once it gets going in my neighborhood) is the most colorful season (sorry Spring!).

There’s nothing like blazing red, orange and everything in between when you look up. It all seems to happen overnight or close to it.

Leaves crunch underfoot. I marvel at the uniqueness of each one. I know it’s nature and the leaves’ final stage of life, but perhaps the blaze of color is its glorious send-off after shading us all summer…

Gourds are once again arriving at grocery stores and farm stands. Their colors and textures…so unlike the vegetables of summer. They’ve always struck me as strange in a cool sort of way. I never know what to do with them (no decorating potential…Martha Stewart I’m not), but they deserve a photo.

I know that apples are available year-round at the grocery store – trucked in from somewhere, but Autumn is the time for apple picking in my local area. Fresh off the trees, branches weighted down…there’s nothing like it. Orchards are busy in September & October…morphing into destination spots for festivals, bluegrass music, hayrides and apple cider donuts. And apples. Lots of apples.

Last but not least, there is orange once more…not just leaves…but pumpkins too – so plentiful in Autumn. Pumpkins to set out on your porch as a festive nod to the season…but when our kids were growing up…the first step was carving jack ‘o lanterns. Very important preparation for placing a lit candle inside on Halloween night.

Hand a knife to a 5 year old and look out!

Careful creativity in the making….

1987
Daddy and budding artist daughter

Winter White

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: White
BeckyB’s July Squares: Treesquare

In my part of the world it is summer. A hotter than normal summer from what the climate experts report.

I’ve never been one to look forward to the hot and humid, but it does seem worse than in years past…to me anyway. Growing up, my family never had air conditioning until we moved when I was 11. Until then, I spent “boiling” days (as I called them) outside in a kiddie pool or under the sprinkler or sitting next to a humming floor fan while watching cartoons or playing Monopoly with my sister. It was a round metal fan that you could sit on, cooling off your legs too. Hopefully without sticking your fingers inside. Now known as a “vintage floor fan,” it was back before finger-saving safety features became all the rage.

But I digress…this treesquare is obviously a winter photograph – post major snowstorm. I took this photo many years ago, as I liked the look of wet snow clinging to bare branches. It could be a challenge to capture the moment before winter sunshine made it disappear.

Before we know it…winter will creep back and this will be the scene outside many of our windows. No more hot and humid…which will be fine with me!

Macro Monday: Pair of Buds

A pair of buds…or perhaps really 2 pairs of buds…greeted me on a bright and breezy day last week. As I went out the back door of my building I noticed a bush…now sprouting buds everywhere on its spindly branches. I have no idea what name this bush goes by, but no matter. And for some reason I’m now reminded of that old Pac Man video game…however I digress.

I gratefully welcome yet another sign of Spring.

BeckyB’s BrightSquare Challenge

Snow Day

I sit here at my desk in the room where I write…surrounded by white. White walls. White windows. And outside the windows…white crystals and flakes swirl past…settling on window sills and our tiny porch. The line of evergreen trees. The path to my woods.

Gone are the vibrant reds and warm yellows of autumn. The colorful peaks of nature’s splendor. My world’s palette is – once again – on its way toward a rustic simplicity of browns plus green.

Snowstorms trigger time travel…

Circa 1990s…lying in bed at 6am listening to WTSN – a local AM radio station…waiting for the long-time morning show host to drone through the alphabetic list of school closings. My kids were living at home then and had gone to bed praying for mountains of snow to fall overnight. As they got older, sometimes they heard the radio announcement before I did…MOM NO SCHOOL WOO HOO…drifted down the hall from their rooms to mine. The sweet sense of excitement and gift of a DAY OFF never failed to fill those days with a magic all their own. Why is that I wonder…how snow gave us permission to play. To not consider other alternatives. Admittedly we were able to switch gears fairly easily as I worked part-time with a flexible schedule. My husband, a teacher at a private school, never got snow days off when our kids were…well…kids.

I don’t recall all that many snow days when I was growing up. I’m not sure why, unless in the 60s we were expected to power through. Safety issues were not all that prevalent back then. Those were the days before mandatory seatbelts and bike helmets after all. In my memory, school was cancelled when the snow was Two Feet High. Whether that was actually true is not verifiable.

My kids built snowmen and slid on plastic discs down windswept or snow-shovel-swept piles of snow. Over and over. They climbed snow drifts as high as the mailbox atop a pole by the street. And made snow angels in the front yard.

My younger brother and I built snow forts – making snow bricks by (mittened) hand, one by one, carefully stacking them onto short walls until finger numbness began to set in. We would spend most of the day in the front yard, coming inside for lunch, hanging our wet wool coats and snow pants to dry in the hallway, the steam rising while we ate. Filling the kitchen with that distinctive wet wool smell. My mother never took photographs of our snow day exploits – just shooed us out the door after breakfast and then again after lunch. So I rely on memory. After the fort came snowball production & stacking – followed by one sided snowball “fights” with passers by…mostly my sister or the boy next door. We all got along, my siblings and I, during those times outside. Just us. There was something about all that snow and a shared sense of fun and purpose.

Maybe it’s why – when I saw children in this over 55 community the other day – I got a little choked up. Looking out the window I spotted 2 little kids down the path…trudging up a small hill of leftover snow and then repeatedly sliding down. An adult stood nearby. Grandchildren…with their grandpa. Just a guess, but I bet I was right. Lucky them.

The only time I can usually sleep past sunrise is during a snowstorm. Today was one of those days. The highway grows relatively silent as only a few of the bravest drivers hit the road that early.

More snow than we’ve gotten in 2 years announced the very excited meteorologist this morning on our local TV station. Meteorologists LOVE snow storms. They stand outside in the middle of this once-in-a-2-year-blizzard, shivering and freezing with hoods pulled up…announcing the obvious: It Is Snowing.

Every channel is about the snow. Interviews with “plow guy” (always a guy) abound. Reporters on street corners with coats wrapped tight shoving yardsticks into snowbanks, directing videographers toward the view behind them. Look it’s snowing! Look there’s a car off the road! Remember to drive slow!

The fascination with extreme weather – one more onslaught we can’t control – continued for hours.

But you know what? There was no mention of the latest ridiculous political maneuvering in Washington DC. No discussion of who lied to who. I don’t think anyone even mentioned the pandemic. And all the relentless pain and suffering. The increasing numbers of the sick and dying. Hospitals strained to capacity. All in this surreal world that doesn’t make sense anymore. All that explains why my husband and I have to spend Christmas alone for the first time in 45 years.

Mother Nature mercifully took over today and gave at least some of us a brief respite…from all that is so much worse than a simple historic few feet of snow.

It almost felt like a regular snow day.

~~~

photo a day challenge: Windows
photo a day challenge: Colors and letters – White
Ragtag Daily Prompt: Rustic Simplicity

Seasonal

One Word Sunday: Seasonal

~~~

You have to look down and step carefully during a walk in the woods…after a much needed rain. Otherwise your shoes get soaked.

During one such walk in mid October, I was greeted by a mirror image of the view from above. Trees – pelted by the previous day’s storm – still dropping their leaves on the path. It reminded me of those accidental (or not) double exposures from back in the days of film.

The last of Autumn’s colors…briefly preserved.

Macro Monday: Ablaze

This time of year, each walk in the woods is different. The path gets wider as the trees drop leaves. Colors, of course, are changing. Reds. Oranges. Browns. And all shades in between.

The path becomes crunchy with fallen leaves, pine needles, twigs and all that is nature.

I recently discovered a leaf basking in the afternoon sun.

It had fortunately escaped a crunching foot.