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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Forest Bathing

A term that means visiting a forest for relaxation. Or a walk through the woods to aid in a person’s well being and serenity. And what better time of year for this idea of forest bathing, than fall.

The forests here in Vermont are finally undergoing their autumn changes. Warmer weather in September slowed the process. And some worried that the colors might be muted or the leaves would fall off too quickly once the cooler weather arrived.

But as I stroll through the forests near where I live, as I bathe in their colorful splendor, I know that nature is right on schedule.

Autumn is here. And the forest is displaying her extravagance, splashing the earth with her glorious hues.

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It is truly the perfect time for forest bathing.

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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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Last Days of Summer

Are always bittersweet.

The nights get a bit cooler. The days a bit shorter.

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And other little signs that summer is coming to a close.

It’s a time of change. Of last bursts of growth. Of metamorphosis. Of harvesting. Of preparation.

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There are parades and celebrations. Music and fireworks.

Summer does go out with a bang.

There’s always a sense of nostalgia.

A wish to have summer back with it’s endless warm lazy days.

It’s the feeling of summer we will miss. Like children on break from school. It seems to stretch out forever. But to adults it feels fleeting. We fill it up. Trying to squeeze every last drop of summer experiences in.

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Like every season, time keeps moving forward. It is the cycle of  the earth. It is the cycle of life.

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We adapt and we get ready and we cherish…

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The last days of summer.

November Beauty

November is one of those months. The once colorful leaves now brown and crisp, the skies more gray than blue, brisk and foreboding northern winds, less sunlight…more darkness

A barren time of year.

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Bleak.

A word that often describes the month of November.

Even poets write wistfully about November…

Yea, I have looked, and seen November there;
The changeless seal of change it seemed to be,
Fair death of things that, living once, were fair;
Bright sign of loneliness too great for me,
Strange image of the dread eternity,
In whose void patience how can these have part,
These outstretched feverish hands, this restless heart?

– William Morris

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Here in Vermont, it is a month to endure. A month of preparation, battening down the hatches so to speak. The weather unpredictable, the cold and damp giving us a taste of things to come…

Yet…somehow our spirit perseveres. Perhaps it is the thought of upcoming celebrations. Or the excitement of knowing the first snow is coming. Or cherishing those gifts of infrequent sunny days, and remembering there is so much to be thankful for.

 We turn inward as the world outside hunkers down for winter. It is a time for reflection and hibernation…

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I am determined to find and experience the un-bleakness of November…or to celebrate the beauty of bleakness. Because if you look hard enough…and close enough, it’s there.

Under my feet…

In the meadows…

On frosty mornings…

In the woods…

Above me…

That invincible summer that Albert Camus speaks of is within us all. Our human spirit that allows us, in the midst of bleakness, to find November beauty.

The Search For Scragg Mountain

Legend has it that there are trails here in Northfield that lead up to the top of Scragg Mountain. Once there, the views of the Mad River Valley and beyond are supposed to be spectacular. There is an old fire tower, and a cabin once used by the forest service.

It was a sunny, gorgeous fall day and I decided to go in search of these trails.  I’d heard there was a trailhead on Stony Brook Rd.  So I began…

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I’d never been up Stony Brook Rd. it was long and winding… Steadily going uphill. I was sure I was on the right track. The drive was beautiful. The sun warm, the colors brilliant.

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After several miles I came to a dead end road…and found a parking area. So far so good. I parked and began to walk along an old logging road. Excited and happy. A beautiful day for a hike. An adventure…

The trail was littered with leaves, freshly fallen.

The climb was pretty easy. The scenery magnificent. Fall in Vermont…the perfect season for hiking. Absolutely perfect…

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I had my camera and I stopped frequently. It seemed everywhere I looked was glorious fall beauty. The colors so brilliant and vibrant this year.

Above me…

Below me…

Around me…

Rock cairns along the trail indicated which way to go…

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Yet I began to notice the trail getting narrower. Until at times I wasn’t sure I was even on the trail…I caught glimpses of Scragg Mountain…

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But I could find no more cairns and suddenly no more trail…

The search it seemed had come to an end. But as I turned to head back down I realized how much I had enjoyed the journey.

I also remembered that legend has it that on the other side of the mountain in Waitsfield…there is a trailhead.

To be continued…

Ready…

It’s a beautiful, crisp evening here in Vermont.

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There’s a slight nip in the air… A sign…

Fall is coming…

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Fall is a magnificent time of year…

If you are ready….

I’m not quite sure I am this year. I’m not sure I’m ready because I know what comes next…

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But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Fall is magnificent, it really is. I’m starting to see the signs. I’m feeling the changes in the how the sun sets earlier, and isn’t quite as warm when it’s shining…

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And the colors… The colors of fall…

Black-eyed Susan’s are feeling it too… Changing…

That’s what seasons are about. Change. Nature does it so perfectly.

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Human beings have adapted too. We rake the leaves, we pull out our cozy sweatshirts and sweaters, and we gather wood. To build fires that warm us on these cool fall evenings.

And we tell ourselves we are ready…but as in life, are we really ready? Or just adapting to the changes around us the best we can?

The fire does feels wonderful. I think I’m ready…