October 19, 2006

Morning break

woods

The middle of October is the middle of fall semester, a busy time on campus. Students are sleep-deprived and miserable from taking difficult tests. Faculty, tired of grading papers and planning classes, are caught in the crunch that comes with deadlines for conference proposals, research grants, and spring semester planning. Everyone has a head cold. Meetings are filled with arguments and lethargy. And on top of everything else, the days keeping getting shorter and colder.

Working at home this morning, I looked around at the piles on the floor of my office and decided that what I needed was a walk in my own woods.

It was a smart decision. As soon as I stepped from our back meadow onto the trail, I could smell the richness of fallen leaves. My woods have no spectacular vistas, but the bright yellow gold leaves mixed with the green of the conifers and the occasional bright orange-red of a maple turn the flat trails into colorful pathways. As I crunched loudly over dead leaves and twigs, a deer bounded out of the brush ahead of me, leaping gracefully away, the white flag of her tail high in the air as she disappeared from sight. I stopped a few times to take photos, but mainly I just wandered aimlessly about, enjoying the cool autumn air, admiring the brilliant green mosses that covered every log and stump. After an hour in the fresh, damp air, I felt ready to tackle the to-do list on my desk.

17 comments:

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Ah, lovely photo, wonderful sketch, wish I had some great woods like yours to walk in here in Detroit. Mary :-D

Anonymous said...

There's nothing like a deer--common as they've become--to ground you, I think. Last full moon I couldn't sleep, so I walked out on our deck, which was awash in moonlight. A beautiful buck walked out from underneath it while I was leaning on the rail, cast me a look, then walked to the bottom of the yard with this elegant masculine grace. He lay down then and disappeared into the black shadow of an apple tree, but I knew he watching me as long as I stayed out there. Whatever tension that was keeping me up just evaporated, and I went up in a few minutes and dropped off to sleep. --Artist Friend

Hilaire said...

What a great testament to the benefits of a time-out! Beautiful...

OTRgirl said...

During college in New England I loved being able to leave the studies (or bring them with me) and go for a ramble in the nearby woods. I'm jealous. I'm glad you post pictures on your blog. Now that I'm in northern California, I'll need reminders of the seasons. Sure the leaves drop here in the fall, but it's hard to look forward to the arrival of three to five months of rain. I'll miss snow.

Lilian said...

GORGEOUS photo!! I feel so jealous! In the Pioneer valley the fall is lovely, but here in the Philadelphia area, I can't really see many beautiful trees, at least where we live... :(

Songbird said...

We're having great foliage, and I'm glad you're enjoying it, too!

Yankee, Transferred said...

jealous.

listmaker said...

What a beautiful place you have to enjoy.

Shelly said...

Lovely.

kathy a said...

lovely, jo(e).

OTR, just how far north are you? i think that even in the farthest reaches toward oregon, there won't be so many months of solid rain. fog, maybe. but if you go east, you can find snow in winter. and if you are really north, you might get the snow we never get around the bay area, sometimes.

Chip said...

The leaves have been spectacular haven't they? Flying into the airport this weekend, in the late afternoon, a sunny day, was really such a beautiful ride: the hills, the rivers and lakes, and the orange and yellow leaves lighting up the forests. You're lucky to have a hiking trail right out your back door!

Susan said...

I am totally jealous....what a restorative thing to have such beautiful land so close.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

That's such a healthy (physically, emotionally) approach to the school year. You're a good example for me. Today, I kept my head on my shoulders and kept myself able to work by a.) walking to my local cheese shop for some chèvre as a treat, and b.) doing yoga. Tomorrow I think I'll walk to the ocean. For me, that puts academia into perspective, and helps me get better work done than if I always try to push on and on.

ccw said...

A beautiful photo and a great idea!

Marie said...

Just gorgeous.

halloweenlover said...

Beautiful! I need some of those walks. I'm hoping that this weekend I can take some time to do some walking and enjoy some pre-Halloween planning and festivities. Sometimes those moments are the most rejuvenating.

cloudscome said...

I love the way you work. We have woods like this too and it is reviving to remember to go out and watch the leaves coming down and soak in the peace.