Better Late Than Never

Fall was late this year in Vermont. We wondered if it would ever arrive or just go straight from summer to winter. The trees were parched as we had little rain. And we wondered if this would affect their color. We waited. We watched. We wondered.

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Then it came. And it was as glorious as ever. I found myself once again in awe at this amazing natural cycle and rhythm. Nature knows. Nature has patience. Nature follows her own timetable. And it was better late than never.

I am also following mine. In this journey called life I am finding I need to have patience too. For so long I have meandered. I have traveled different paths only to find they ended and I had to turn around. Others paths have led me closer to the answers this heart of mine yearns for. Yet I’m still meandering. I am still learning. And I am still growing.

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It is a beautiful thing, this journey. As I dive a little deeper into who I am and to what my purpose here is, I find surprising discoveries..

I am more present. I am feeling tremendous gratitude for the many precious gifts in my life. I am listening closer to what my heart is telling me. It’s not always perfectly clear, but I’m getting better at truly hearing what’s inside me. It’s a journey of progress. Of steps. Of surrendering. Of opening and expanding and most of all…letting go.

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After 23 plus years of sobriety, I think I’m finally figuring it all out. Better late than never.

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Little River

It wasn’t the nicest of days. The sun wasn’t shining. The temperature wasn’t warm. And the leaves, once so vibrant, were fading.

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But I’ve learned, that in every season and in every place, there is beauty and joy if you take the time to look around you.

Little River…

Another state park. Another favorite of mine. In all kinds of weather and on all kinds of days.

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There’s something about the stillness and muted reflections of the reservoir in late fall.

There’s something about the soft and quiet foliage that remains, both on the trees and on the ground.

There’s something about the peacefulness of still waters and cooler air.

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There’s something about the serenity of shimmering raindrops when the sun tries to peek through the dense clouds.

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And there is something about the wonder of hearing the sound of sleet echoing through the forest.

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After all it wasn’t the nicest of days…

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But there was beauty and joy to be found at Little River.

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Fall’s Finale

It happens slowly. This changing of the seasons.

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The shift from summer to autumn. A serenade between the two that lingers. A dramatic pause in the harmonious cycle.

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There are moments when it seems as if fall’s melody will last forever.

The colorful abundance never ending. A crescendo of vibrant hues and shades.

And then ever so subtly the finale arrives. The colors once so rich and brilliant begin to pale and merge into a soft golden tempo.

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I try to capture these moments…as fall winds down her glorious performance. Lingering in that pause and savoring this final symphony of beauty.

Nature knows. This foliage finale just before the next pause and the approach of winter.

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She reminds us that nothing lasts forever. To everything there is a season and a rhythm. A beginning and an ending.

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And it is in theses pauses, these spaces between the notes, where the music happens.

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Quarries and Metaphors

It’s no secret, my love for the abandoned quarries. I am smitten. I am captivated. I’m in love. And every time I go there I find more to love.

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But I had never been there in the fall. And so this weekend I went. And I fell further in love with these remnants from long ago. And I discovered more than I could have ever imagined.

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Fall at the quarries is glorious.

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Like anything there is so much more than just what’s on the surface. These scarred towering rocks and deep holes filled with shimmering water, tell a story. They tell of mans’ strength, determination, and spirit.

The piles of grout create mountains and things grow up on these mountains. From the wreckage and waste…new life begins. Standing on these enormous hills is breathtaking. The world lays open from every angle to savor and enjoy.

These rocks weather extremely well which is why they are chosen to grace so many building facades and memorials. They can survive all types of storms, and remain unchanged. Granite is not only strong and enduring but multifaceted.

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I often think of these magnificent quarries as a metaphor.

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A metaphor for my life.

Like the granite, I have survived and endured many a storm. And like the quarries, deep below the surface within my heart, is a fierce determination and resilient spirit.

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And so, I am drawn to these quarries…

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They remind me.

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And they inspire me.

Lovely Leaves

I say it every year.

I take a million pictures.

I feel amazement and delight.

And I find myself in absolute awe.

Autumn in Vermont is truly magnificent.

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The lovely leaves have captured my heart again this year.

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Those still in the trees…

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And those that have landed softly on the ground at my feet.

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Nature’s palette never ceases to surprise and amaze me.

They are all lovely, from the yellow to the red,  to every color in between.

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Such lovely, lovely leaves.

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Earth Tones

Are some of my most favorite colors. And it is now, as fall approaches, that these colors begin to appear and transform the landscape.

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It is a feast for the eyes. A wondrous sight to behold.

 It is a time to be in awe of natures’ brilliant palette of colors.

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Bright greens as older trees with their lush leaves wait patiently. They have wisdom and know there is no rush.

Younger trees show off with vibrant reds and yellows. In a hurry to ready for what lies ahead.

Fields come alive with deep jewel tones for they know this is their final display of the year.

It is the dramatic pause between two extreme seasons.

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 When the earth shows off her beautiful tones.

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Top of the World

There is something about hiking…

Something, that despite the sore muscles and aching feet, makes you keep going back for more.

Yesterday…I decided to hike the second largest mountain in our area. I have hiked the tallest one, Mt. Mansfield, many times…but never Camel’s Hump.

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Perhaps it is its imposing presence. Clouds always draped across its peak. The rocky crags at the summit visible from miles away.

And the fact that it’s a long hike! Not just a spur of the minute kind of hike. A hike you have to plan for. Water, lots of snacks, layers of clothing for sudden turns in the weather. It is not for the faint of heart.

Perhaps foreboding is the word that best describes Camel’s Hump…

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Yet at the same time, this is part of its allure. It pulls at you every time you see it off in the distance.

I finally, after 37 years of living here, let it draw me in.

A 6.8 mile journey round trip. And it all begins with the first step…

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It was a warm, beautiful late fall day. Our backpack was filled with everything we might need…including a flashlight and fire starter…after all you never know! This was Camel’s Hump…

Part of the hiking experience is the joy of the journey. The things along the trail that catch your eye…and your curiosity and wonder.

Remnants of the spectacular fall we’ve had this year…

The trail dappled with spots of color…

Special friends to share the experience with…

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A magical emerald forest that seems from another time and place…

These things also distract you…the trail is long and steep. Distractions are good.

There is a sign…

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Hard to believe there’s still a mile to go…

But the summit is so worth the long hike up. It’s as if you are standing on top of the world.

Even with the clouds, the view is breathtaking. Even with the howling and bone chilling wind, there is a feeling of contentment and happiness.

And a feeling of accomplishment.

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I did it!

Autumn’s Last Breath

The mountains are the first to know…

The grayness of bare trees begins to migrate downward… Until it reaches the valleys and streams…

The maples now more yellow and brown…

The oaks, slower in the cycle, boast their brightness…

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And sumacs show off their brilliance for a little while longer…

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Other clues…

It’s a different kind of beauty…raw and crisp.The sound of the wind through dry, brittle leaves. Cool days and cold nights. Cozy sweaters and warm fires.

It’s a time for getting ready. A time for celebrations. A time for reflection and gratitude. One last burst of color and glory..

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Until spring…

Tree Love

I just can’t get enough of this incredible fall we are having.  My camera is working overtime. I am spending hours outside…walking, photographing, savoring…saying lots of “Ooohs and ahhhs” and “Wows”

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Words can no longer express or describe this spectacular show nature is giving us this year.

I’m not even sure my pictures do it true justice.  But the photographer in me can’t help sharing them…

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I have fallen in love again with trees. They truly are magnificent…in every season. But in the fall, they become almost magical in how they change. I am smitten!

I have witnessed numerous autumns…many just as beautiful. What makes this fall so different?

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Perhaps it’s me. Perhaps for the first time in a very long time, I am really seeing, feeling, and experiencing the world around me…

My eyes, my mind, and my heart more open…

To not just the seasons and the natural world…

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But life itself…

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