Lord willing

Crowded Parchment

Today I went for two hikes in the Florida woods. I’m staying at the Lodge at Wakulla Springs State Park for what would have been our 42nd anniversary. Chuck would have enjoyed these hikes -no snakes, beautiful fall weather and lovely colors.

When the so-called pandemic hit, hiking kept me sane. The fresh air and exercise were a balm to my spirit. They still are. Now most of my walks are in the neighborhood with my dog, Ruby. But I can still find beauty there. And it still does me good.

We had so many plans. A trip to New England, concerts, spending time with the grandkids. I am learning now to say “Lord willing” more often when I talk of what I hope/plan to do. It is still a learning process to go it alone. I’m used to hiking alone and taking trips alone, but it’s the eating alone I have to work on. While I’ve been at the lodge I’ve been taking a book with me to the dining room/restaurant. I’m currently reading our book club’s selection, The Secret Diary of Hendrick Groen, 83 1/2 Years Old, which is quite entertaining.

I guess my thoughts have wandered around a bit in this post. The thoughts and words put together here are kind of like a crowded parchment.

An afternoon in the woods

Yesterday I got off work early and was able to hike around at Moss Rock Preserve with Ruby before the sun set. At 4:51 pm. Blasted Daylight Savings Time.  The fall colors were absolutely  magnificent. The weather was perfect. The company was amicable.

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I came across two brothers who were rock climbing while their mom took pictures and video. I watched a minute from the top of a boulder opposite the activity. The older boy was hoisting the younger one up with a rope and pulley system of some sort. My path crossed theirs a little later and they were still having fun.

As I approached the waterfall area I came across a man, younger than me I think, helping an elderly couple in their seventies to get down the rocky path along the waterfall. Which could hardly be called a waterfall, more a water trickle But, I digress. I could tell from the snatches of conversation I heard these people didn’t know each other. Just one person giving a helping hand.

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Moss Rock – sun hasn’t set yet but moon is up

After I wandered around above the “falls” and crossed over, I sat a few minutes to just enjoy the scenery and let Ruby lap up some water. She started a little low growling as a man approached from behind, taking pictures. When he came into my sightline I saw he was wearing a Georgia Bulldogs shirt. I told Ruby he was not the enemy and then I told him I liked his shirt. That opened the door for a little conversation. He graduated from the University of Georgia ten years ago. We talked about different places to hike in the area and then I went on my way.

I came up on the elderly couple again and slowed my pace to stay behind them. Which was pretty slow since my pace is already slow. The man turned to me and began a conversation. His name is Bo, hers is Joan. He asked me where I go to church, then proceeded to tell me all about his.

Ruby and I then tried to get ahead of them by taking a different path but ended up right behind them again. No matter, we were almost back to the entrance.

Usually when I hike it’s pretty quiet. I hardly ever engage in a lot of conversation. But you never know. I’d much rather run into someone who wants to talk than to run into another copperhead snake.

 

 

 

Avetts in October #11: Daydreaming

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Birmingham, 2013

 

“It’s a habit of mine,” said Jim Wade wistfully, “daydreaming in other seasons…”  from Quite a Year for Plums by Bailey White

In September I was daydreaming of fall. All year I’ve been daydreaming of the near (I wish) future when we might be able to return to Florida. But I realize that kind of dreaming isn’t always helpful or productive. Sometimes too much looking into the future blinds me to the present.

And from November Blue

And if I weren’t leavin’, 
Would I catch you dreamin’ …

And if I came to you tomorrow, 
And said “let’s run away”
Would you roll like the wind does… (YES)

And I sing songs of sorrow, 
Because you’re not around… (TRUE)

I’ve fallen like the leaves…

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Moss Rock Preserve

 

A Thought From All the Light We Cannot See

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“Werner thinks of his childhood, the skeins of coal dust suspended in the air on winter mornings…” from All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

For some reason, this stirred a childhood memory of milk. For a very short time when we first moved to Jacksonville, FL, we had our milk delivered by the “milkman”. On our front porch sat a metal crate where we would leave our empty bottles and take delivery of fresh milk. I remember the tops were sealed with thick paper lids. This milk was probably from Skinner’s Dairy, a hometown company that later built numerous drive-thru milk stores across Jacksonville.

In north Florida it didn’t get cold very often, but there were some winter mornings when we were excited to be able to see our breath in the chilly air. There was one winter I’ll always remember as the temperature got down in  the upper teens and our heat went out. Our dad was out of town at the time on one of his many business trips. We bundled up and played outside anyway. The very large ditch – like a creek – behind our house was frozen on the top. Our friend’s little dog, Ginger, skittered across easily. Our dog, Dixie, followed her and went right through to the icy water.

Other fall and winter days were filled with my brothers playing football in the front yard and a few evening fires in our fireplace. In high school it was a time to wear stylish sweaters to school, then go outside for PE in the short gym suits we had to wear. I remember being teased about the chill bumps on my legs – referred to as chicken skin.

After moving to Birmingham in 2014, I was so excited about our first fall and winter. Sweaters and boots and scarves were so much fun! But, then it seemed to last forever and I yearned for the warmth of spring.

Last year, summer far outlasted its welcome. And this year we’ve had our share of hurricanes in the south. Now I long once more for the cool air and some justification for a pumpkin spice latte.