how to take a walk

9.16.22 ~ Connecticut College Arboretum
waning gibbous moon
bee inspecting a hole in a trumpet vine blossom
blueberry life on the rocks
trumpet vine reaching for the moon
fallen leaf standing in water

We enjoyed a lovely long walk around the pond at the arboretum on Friday. I was in my sweatshirt and enjoying the fresh cool air. The trees are still green for the most part and we wondered what kind of fall color is in store for us in the wake of the drought. There were still some summer tints lingering side by side with hints of autumn hues.

half standing lily pad
pond in moderate drought
upside down

Few men know how to take a walk. The qualifications of a professor are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much. If a man tells me that he has an intense love of nature, I know, of course, that he has none. Good observers have the manners of trees and animals, their patient good sense, and if they add words, ’tis only when words are better than silence.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
(The Later Lectures of Ralph Waldo Emerson: 1843-1871)

We also took a side path to the Glenn Dreyer Bog which was illuminated with spots of bright sunshine. The light near the equinoxes is amazing, as I often say.

Glenn Dreyer Bog
Glenn Dreyer Bog

The woods were full of gray catbird calls and we heard them rustling around in the tree branches. Occasionally we spotted one but they were diligently avoiding my camera. This was the summer of the catbird. Not only did we have one singing in our river birch outside our kitchen window, we saw them on almost every walk we took. Back in June, though, they were out in the open and more amenable to being photographed.

gray catbird
gray catbird
gray catbird
small fern and moss

How much of beauty — of color, as well as form — on which our eyes daily rest goes unperceived by us!
~ Henry David Thoreau
(Journal, August 1, 1860)

river birch triplets

Today the humidity is creeping back with higher temperatures but it shouldn’t last for too many days. We plan to go see an outdoor Ibsen play, Peer Gynt, in the park tonight and will bring blankets to keep warm. This was supposed to happen in June but covid got the theater group and they had to postpone. We got our new bivalent booster shots last week but still plan to exercise caution as we try to move forward.

41 thoughts on “how to take a walk”

  1. I love gray catbirds! As always, your photos are wonderful. I appreciate the quotations from Emerson and Thoreau. Very apt. Enjoy the play tonight!

    1. Thank you, Timi! I always come back around to appreciating the transcendentalists and their approach to life. We enjoyed the play thoroughly — it was so well done!

  2. Barbara, I’m not sure I’ve seen a catbird, but I know I’ve heard them! They confuse poor Monkey all the time — he thinks they’re a real kitty invading his yard! Lovely walk you’ve taken — thanks for letting me tag along.

    1. It’s no wonder Monkey gets confused since catbirds are related to mockingbirds and share their penchant for mimicking the songs of other birds. 😉 We heard a lot of songs from the one who came to our tree early in the summer but with the change of seasons now we’re getting nothing but the meows.

  3. Once again, my kind of walk Barbara. Still a lot of green and color out there, then you see the crumpled leaves on the path, or an upside-down leaf on the water like you showed us here.
    Somewhere on the camera card I have similar pictures of the trumpet vine blooms against a blue sky. Hopefully they look as good as yours. The angle of the sun has changed so much since Labor Day as have our shadows. I agree that the catbird was rejecting the idea of being photographed … beak in the air, yes I would call it “bird snubbing” wouldn’t you?

    1. Definitely the catbirds were snubbing us. What teases they are! I do love the sunlight this time of year, not too bright and not too dim — just right. I’ve been to the arboretum quite often over the years and I have to say I never noticed these trumpet vines until this day. Their greenery covers two arbors used as an outdoor stage in the summer. We saw some of the long seed pods, too. It will be fun watching the fall season come to the arboretum. I hope the drought hasn’t spoiled it too much.

      1. At Memorial Park at the volunteer gardens, there is a huge trumpet vine that has been there for many years. I kept going there the last two Summers hoping to see Hummingbirds, but no luck, although I’ve gotten two sets of photos of Monarchs (2021) and Swallowtails (2022). My neighbor Marge planted a trumpet vine for hummingbirds and this is the first year it flowered, just two flowers and that was it and it is at least a decade old.

        I heard today our Fall colors will arrive a little earlier (our peak week was to be Monday, October 3rd through 9th or 10th) and that is due to the drought. I hope that is not the norm now.

        1. I don’t think any weather event will be the norm any more, all the regular cycles seem to be in a state of unpredictable flux now. Our fall color peak seems a lot longer than yours, from October 3 through November 8. Perhaps our autumn change is more drawn out and gradual. We’re already starting to see the reds.

          I didn’t know hummingbirds liked trumpet vines. Too bad we don’t have room to grow one. We did enjoy seeing all the hummingbirds visit our petunias this year. For years I always had a geranium which never attracted anything, except me -lol- because I love them. This summer we tried petunias and were delighted when the hummingbirds and butterflies showed up. 🙂

          1. You do have a long peak period. We often have two weeks, but this year, they said about a week to ten days tops. The hummingbirds like trumpet vines as they like the bugle shape. I hope I still have those pictures. I’ve got to spend time getting pictures off the card, though I have enough pics from the small camera for the next three weeks. I didn’t know hummingbirds and butterflies liked petunias – I would try petunias again.

            Well interestingly, I just gave it another “go” and found you asking a bird question but why it didn’t show up the first time I will never know. I don’t post any pictures or any posts. That is because our tenant’s wife, daughter and son friended me. I told my boss when I started my blog as I was excited and he asked if I would be paid for it – I was incensed so never mentioned it again. When I am retired, I will post my pictures. I have two FB friends who follow my blog and never comment.

          2. I found it to be a nuisance deadheading the petunias but I guess it was worth the trouble to see the hummingbirds. Facebook is a mystery. Tim is forever complaining that he sees something interesting on his timeline and that he can never find it again. It will be fun to see what you do post once you retire. I’ve had the same experience with Facebook friends who never visit my blog, let alone follow it… I tried sharing my blog posts on Facebook once but no one was interested.

          3. I follow Twitter for the news as I cancelled my cable over a decade ago. My TV with a flat antenna freezes the picture sometimes, so I just follow news stories and see news videos or watch the nightly news online. I listen to an all-news AM radio station during the day. I watch news on some FB news sites, but prefer Twitter as it is more current.

            I will probably post some nature photos when retired, but like you, if people aren’t interested in the posts and don’t comment on them on the site, then they likely won’t there either, though I may post nature pictures.

            I have my FB privacy settings high so no one can post on my site – they tab me and I review what they said in my notifications. For years, my boss wrote his son’s term papers – it irked me beyond belief. His son, even in junior high, would tell his father what the term paper was about and when it was due. My boss did the research, would dictate the term paper and revise it ten times before we printed it out. Then, in college, his kid would hand him the “topics for discussion” and say “here Dad – pick what topic you want.” Same thing and we’d send it to him in Word, so he could file the paper online, etc. for his class. I mentioned this “ghost writing” to my high school friend Carol, then she read a news article about “enablers” and specifically parents who do their kids’ school assignments and posted the link on my FB wall. I still worked on site – I deleted the post that night and changed my privacy settings.

          4. Wow! I can see why you changed your privacy settings. What a tough position for you to be in. I don’t know what these parents are thinking when they do things for their children that they should be doing for themselves. Their kids will never know the sense of accomplishment and personal satisfaction they could get from a job well done. Will their parents follow them on to their places of employment and work for them there, too? Unbelievable.

          5. I was disgusted Barbara – this went on from middle school through college – at least when the kid got into law school he had the good sense not to ask anymore. But that was not all. His kid was in Boy Scouts and wanted an Eagle Scout merit certificate as he thought it would look good on his resume. My boss suggested he do a “Greening of Detroit” project, sell local business owners young trees, plant them and take care of them. Only my boss bought the trees, we had to create fake receipts, my boss planted the trees, transported mulch and water to a church and its courtyard for weeks in the Summer. The kid did not lift a finger. My boss asked the priest at Most Holy Trinity Church to write a letter saying how hard his kid worked on this project and the priest refused. My boss and the priest had been friends for years and no longer after this episode as the priest said “Mackenzie did none of this work – it was you; I saw you.” The kid still got his merit certificate as he got someone else to write a letter. I was appalled at both the term paper writing and this episode – no respect for doing that.

          6. That’s incredible! I’m glad the priest had some integrity and refused to go along with the dishonesty. Unbelievable. And what an insult to the Eagle Scouts who actually earned their merit certificates.

          7. Yes my boss and the priest never repaired that rift after that – my boss was insulted and solicited other letters. In fact I had to type up a few my boss dictated and he gave them to his friends to sign. Yes, it is an insult as the merit certificate shows that a “real” Eagle Scout worked hard to win that award.

          8. That must have been hard for you, typing up those letters, knowing what you knew. I bet you’ll be relieved in more ways than one when you can finally retire.

          9. I can hardly wait – hope he doesn’t change his mind if we’re busy. Tonight was supposed to be the 50-year anniversary party for all Michigan attorneys who passed the bar exam in 1972. He decided to go up north instead of the party which he was looking forward to all Summer. He kept contacting them to ensure he got an invitation. I’d have waited until tomorrow morning to go up north.

          10. I know and how many times do you hear people say “if only I had retired earlier and had more time to enjoy my life” … I had a boss years ago that married and his honeymoon was in Hawaii and he said to me “I felt sorry for the older people on the tours as they were not limber and had problems walking, but they waited until their kids were through school, they were retired, etc. and the big trip now, only they really weren’t up to enjoying it.” I think he does not want to be with his wife 24/7 to be honest.

          11. So true. While we’re enjoying the freedom and extra time in the day that our retirement brought us it has also been riddled with health crises, aches and pains…

          12. Yes, unfortunately that is the case so often. I sent my friend Ann Marie a text from my computer on Saturday to say I had finally gotten to that park using her directions and she wrote back today “I forgot how to go – I am getting really forgetful lately.” I didn’t know what to say so said “I’m forgetful too – don’t be hard on yourself.” She will turn 80 in December. Her husband is seven years older and in poor health (COPD with oxygen 100% of the time).

    1. Thank you, Peggy. Not sure why but my eye does tend to zero in on the little details in nature’s smaller offerings.

    1. Thank you, Suz! We thoroughly enjoyed the play — it was so well done and the troupe has recovered after covid knocked them off their feet in June.

  4. I enjoy how you chose to display your walks in this post, Barbara. The “fallen leaf standing in water” is definitely my favorite; and the runner up is”upside down” and of course the moon. All of your fall photos are beautiful!

    Yorkie and I took an hour to walk the bay sea wall. We saw two brown pelicans diving for fish. Plovers and pipers were scurrying on the lower level of the sea wall that the entire wall is designed with steps about eight extra tall to break the water. Last time I was out there the lowest step didn’t have water coverage, but this time the water covered the lowest two steps. It could have been high tide. Mostly we were exploring in the quiet alone. We did stop to make acquaintances with two dogs and a couple of people.

    Pretty crepe myrtles are in a late full bloom which Summer is usually their time. And Goldenraintree are beginning to bloom the yellow flowers which usually come in spring and the seed pods are usually in the fall. It’s considered an invasive tree here. These trees are everywhere and a very messy tree dropping 3/4 of the year. We humans aren’t alone with the confusion of the weather pattern this year.

    1. Thank you so much, TD! Your bay sea wall walks always sound so appealing, especially the pelicans which we don’t have here. It’s nice to meet other folks on walks, we’ve had some very interesting and rewarding conversations with complete strangers who share a love of nature and being outdoors. It’s nice to balance that with the quiet and solitude, too. I’m not familiar with crepe myrtles and goldenraintrees, but they look pretty in the pictures I see online. It does seem humans, animals and plants alike have a lot of adapting to do in the face of climate change. It will take a lot of getting used to.

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