Afternoon Meanderings

IMG_7940 copy2 watermarkedEarly Spring Water Meadow along Rte 23  Blandford, MA

IMG_7953 copywatermarkedView from the Blandford Country Club. North Street Blandford MA  Looking down into Springfield….

IMG_7983 watermarkedSpring Stream. Algerie Road, North Blandford MA

IMG_8093watermarked IMG_8098 copywatermarkedStone Walls along the Roadway near Long Pond Conservation Area.  Algerie Road North Blandford MA

IMG_8028 watermarkedIMG_8040 watermarkedCanadian Goose in its element, and Remnants of a Beaver Dam, Long Pond Conservation Area.  Algerie Road North Blandford, MA

And last but by no means least, my traveling companion and chauffeur for the afternoon – The Viking – patiently waiting pondside while I trekked in and got pictures. And no, I didn’t fall in, or get muddy!

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It was really wonderful to meander those back roads today. I grew up there and nostalgia waxed large as I noted how much had changed – and how much had stayed the same.  The afternoon light is becoming more and more spring-like even though there’s still plenty of snow on the ground up in the hills.  The sounds of water cascading over the rocky stream beds, the wind rushing through the pines and dry reed beds, the honking chatter of the geese and ducks – all made for a peaceful backdrop to my self-imposed photo assignment.  Hell, I’ll call it what it was -THERAPY.    I came home with numb fingers and ears, but quite contented. Best of all, I got to spend the afternoon with my guy!

 

Emerging

Spring has been slow in arriving to New England this year. It’s been a long, cold,and damp March. But the last few days have given me hope. Bluebird Skies, Birdsong, Brisk Breezes. Yesterday I really felt like we were starting to emerge from winter. We opened the windows and let the fresh air blow through the house. Outside, I noted my day lilies are starting to peek up above ground; and the daffodils have started sending their shoots up for their April debut.

We opened up all the windows again this morning; and The Viking and I (who are child-free today) took our canine kids on a long walk. The wind was cold, but the sunshine felt so good on our faces. We walked on the dike along the Westfield River. There have been a lot of changes over the winter. Smaller islands, new channels. We saw Canadian geese and Mallard ducks on the water for the first time. The Viking informs me that a Bald Eagle has been spotted on the river recently – but we didn’t see it this time out. Liberty the Red-Tailed Hawk is still hanging around, but we didn’t see her either. I must remember to bring my DSLR camera on these meanderings!

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Sophie and Chewy had a marvelous time exploring along the walkway. Lots of new scents to investigate, and we noted glimpses of fresh green popping up here and there beneath the dry browns and beiges of the winter that doesn’t want to relinquish its grip on us entirely. In addition to the waterfowl, we also saw some cardinals, a few chickadees and a finch (I think it was a finch, anyway). Off in the distance we heard a woodpecker; who was busily looking for his lunch. We also saw quite a few robins. Does anyone remember that song “when the red red robin comes bob-bob-bobbin along”? I can’t get it out of my head now – hahaha!

Now I’m not a big fan of March. Its brown, dreary, drab, muddy, dirty and cold. But I do love seeing all that give way to the green and glorious spring. Especially after the beating we took from Old Man Winter this year. But we are slowly and surely emerging into the warmth of April. I could see it on the faces of the folks we passed on our travels today. Smiling, heads up, and facing into the wind (not hunkered down against it). The Viking didn’t even bring a coat – which he regretted before too long -this is New England after all… 😉

The sun seems to linger in the sky today. The neighborhood kids are out on their bikes. Their happy voices carry on the breeze thats vigorously moving my curtains. The mockingbird in the pine tree is chattering away and sounding like a cat at the moment. Two tired puppies are sprawled, snoring, at my feet. It feels good to emerge today. “Live, Love, Laugh, and Be Happy”. Time for a glass of wine.

A Beautiful Dawn in the New Year

My mother called very early yesterday morning. I expected it on January 9th because it was Mayhem’s birthday and Mom always calls first thing in the morning to wish her grandchildren a Happy Birthday.  I was not expecting an early call a few days later; so when I saw the caller ID I admit to panicking a bit.  Last year was not a good year health- wise for either my Mom or my step-Dad… sooo yeah.  Fortunately, she was just calling to alert me to the dawn.  She also calls for “rainbow alerts”, and gorgeous sunsets, and unusual bird sightings – outside of our usual conversations.  I will miss that when she passes, which won’t be for awhile yet if I have anything to say about it (which I don’t, but still…).

I threw on a jacket, grabbed my camera, and headed outside in my slippers to the back yard. Our property abuts the dike along the Westfield River, facing southwest(ish) if you’re looking directly out my kitchen door – so the sun actually rises in the winter just outside of left frame in the first three pictures, and well outside of left frame in the fourth. Behind the dike is a cornfield, then the treeline along the river. The next 4 pictures you see are a sort of  “pan” from left to right.  The sky was just beautiful yesterday morning.  By the time I got to work it had clouded over completely and later there was a freezing rain to drive home in. But the lovely start more than made up for it.  I hope you enjoy the pictures.

January Dawn watermarkedJanuary Dawn 2 watermarked and croppedJanuary Dawn 4 watermarkedJanuary Dawn 3 watermarked

Autumn’s Fire, and a Stairway.

“Now Autumn’s fire burns slowly along the woods
And day by day the dead leaves fall and melt.”  William Allingham

And as we wind on down the road

Our shadows taller than our souls.

There walks a Lady we all know

Who shines white light and wants to show

How everything still turns to gold.

And if you listen very hard.

The tune will come to you at last.

When all are one and one is all….

Led Zeppelin

Autumn Kalaidescope

Gallery

This gallery contains 12 photos.

Here are some more pictures I took on our trip to New Hampshire with my Canon EOS Rebel, in the order they were shot. We made quite a few stops on the way up to get many of  these shots. … Continue reading

Autumn Ascendant

Crystal waters breathe icy smoke towards a blue morning sky.

The sun kisses a colorful October quilt.

Autumn ascendant.

Just what is it I love so much about the Fall? “What’s not to love”? is my only response. Autumn has always been my favorite season. If it could be October all year long with a week “off” for Christmas I would be so happy. I can breathe again, once a good frost hits. The air is pure, fresh and sparkling- not steely grey and soupy.

There are crystal shards of frost on the grass that glint like diamonds in the morning sunshine; and squeak under your boot-heels before they melt away. The dry, musty – but awesome – scent of the leaves on the ground and the rustling crackle as you shuffle through them on the sidewalks. The louder crunching if you indulge your inner child and jump into that leafpile That sour zing of that first bite of a Granny Smith or Cortland apple, fresh picked. The sweet and sassy taste of fresh pressed apple cider. The amazing blueness of the October New England sky – a color to be found nowhere else on earth at any time of the year. And the foliage…. Nature’s wrapping up in her patchwork quilt as she gets ready for the dark cold.
Autumn brings out a sense of nostalgia in me – of days gone past – of home, safety, comfort, and love. Take a stroll down golden, seldom traveled back-roads. To see what we can see, and spend some hard-won time together. I remember those who have passed on – friends, parents, grandparents, and hold dear my friends and family today.

To me, Autumn is about the senses. The sight of golds, reds, oranges, rusts, and browns – scattered across the hilltops like drops from Jack Frost’s paintbrush. The banners of golden late afternoon sunlight against the bruised purple after-storm sky, and how the sugar maples glow in that unearthly light. The sounds of the Canadian geese honking, coming in low and slow to land in the cornfield behind the house. The laughter and murmur of conversation in the kitchen – always the best place in the house to be! The texture of the nubby jackets, and softly prickly wool sweaters we dig out of the cedar chest to wear at the turning of the season.The pleasant burn of heat on my cold face when I walk in from outdoors. The glorious taste of the made-from-scratch hot apple pie topped with Granville cheddar cheese or better still, some vanilla bean ice cream. Apple spice melt-y wonderful creaminess! But mostly, autumn is about scents. To come home in the long twilight to a house full of the scent of a pork roast with applesauce, or chicken and dumplings, or a Yankee Pot Roast dinner. The great seasonal coffee flavors and how the cinnamon or pumpkin scent envelops me as I warm my fingers around the mug. The morning hot cocoa that “warms the cockles” of my heart, and my tummy. The smell of herbs and baking spices, and scented candle wax. Above all, the feeling of peace in the time of plenty.
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Chilly outdoor bonfires. The flames dance, and the pine pitch creates sparks as the smoke rises. The smoky scent permeates my clothes and hair. Marshmallows are toasted, hot dogs roasted. Wine is imbibed. Conversation is lively. Friendly faces are illuminated and framed by the light. Its hypnotic…. Life is good!


Autumn Leaves

original lyrics by Johnny Mercer, performed by Nat King Cole
The falling leaves drift by the window
The autumn leaves of red and gold
I see your face, the summer kisses
the sun-burned hands I used to hold
Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most my dearest dad
When autumn leaves start to fall

1968

Joseph Albert Hoyt November 8, 1927 – June 7, 2007

Summer’s Fall

I took these about 2 months apart – at the end of July and the beginning of October at the same location. I wasn’t exactly in the same spot, but its the same stream etc.

Summer Reflections

“Summer ends, and Autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night.”  Hal Borlan

Autumn Reflections

Its amazing how much things change season to season yet also how much they remain the same.