I like to use photos when I make a blog entry. I like to see them in other blogs and they usually help get the message across. But this time, I'm begging off. There are no pictures. Not the photographical kind anyway. Let me try and paint a picture for you with words, if I can...
It's dark outside my window right now. Half an hour ago, it wasn't. I'd called my neighbor to see if she wanted to go for a short walk down to the bridge and back, but she's battling cancer and she'd not had a good day. Some other time, we'll walk together.
Romie said he'd go. He's always up for a walk or a bike ride. That's what made him such a good running partner, back when I was allowed to run. Even when the eye doctor slowed me to a walk, he'd ride his bike beside me because he just couldn't keep up with me walking, even though his legs are longer.
For a second, I thought about taking my camera. You just never know when you might see something you want to take a picture of, and if you don't have it, you berate yourself, mumbling, "You know better..." But I didn't. The batteries were nearly dead, and the memory card was full. So it stayed on the table as we walked out the door.
We're enjoying beautiful, unseasonably warm autumn days now. Yesterday, we broke the old record of 83° with a high of 87°. Today was nearly a carbon copy. As I stood watering the thirsty plants earlier today (since this is The Land That Rain Forgot), I wished for a breeze to cool me.
The first thing we noticed as we headed south down our road was the sky. The sun had set, but the sky was still as blue as if it were the middle of the afternoon. Swirls of cirrus clouds streaked across, painted ever so slightly pink from the sun's reflection. Jet streams criss-crossed the blue parts, and the moon - two days from being full - was hazed by the thin clouds. A lone star shone brightly, and then we thought it must be Jupiter, since it's always so prominent as it makes its way acros the southern sky this time of year.
We approached the cemetery and Romie remarked, "Look at all the different colors of green there. It looks like 3-D." I rolled my eyes and giggled a little bit as I replied, "It is 3-D," but I knew what he meant. It was so...dimensional. So many shades of the same color. It's fall - a time of reds, oranges, yellows - yet even the greens were putting on a show for us.
As the darkness approached from the east and the blue sky was becoming indigo, the pink deepened to rose and the lightness in the sky to our right illuminated the yellow trees, providing stark contrast. And then there they were - two white-tailed deer in the middle of the field. They stared at us for a couple of moments before turning tail and bounding away for the cover of a nearby patch of woods.
With corn in the fields, they venture out in search of a snack, but the sound of the combine in the distance reminded us that soon their cover would be blown and with deer hunting season approaching, they would need to be more careful. With so many yellows and light browns in the landscape, if you weren't looking for them, you wouldn't have noticed them, but Romie had told me about seeing them yesterday, too.
Once they reached the woods, out of our view, it was then that we heard our old friend, Hootie. For the past several years, there's been a Great Horned Owl that haunts this woods and occasionally, he visits our big oak trees in our yard. When he hoots that close to the house, you'd better not plan on sleeping. But tonight he was far enough away to sound romantic and soothing.
In the distance, we could see the ground fog forming from the dust created by that combine as he takes off a field of beans about half a mile away. We could smell it too and I wondered if it would bother Romie's allergies. It gave an ethereal look to the landscape.
As we crossed the bridge, the creek has just enough water in it to reflect the painting in the sky and I once again wished my camera were in my hand. The water is still, as if the creek is doing its best to hang on to the small amount of moisture it has. Evidence of wildlife coming to its edges to drink at an earlier time is imprinted in the sand.
We rounded the slight curve and felt a current of warm air from the woods as we continued down the road. "A warm spot," we said, as we've done many times before on these walks. Why do we mention it aloud each time? Maybe because it's somehow comforting to know that we both experienced it. It's literally a warm fuzzy shared.
It's getting darker, and we know we should turn around and head for home. Though our road isn't one that's heavily traveled, it's dark enough now that it really isn't safe to be walking on the road. Yet we're so taken by the volume of beauty we're experiencing all at once, that without one or the other saying it, we fear that somehow turning around and going back will break the spell. But we made the turn and headed back north.
Just then, we heard voices and turned around to see three people on bicycles turn the corner behind us. We'd been oblivious to them just moments before, when they must have been in our direct line of sight. But there was too much for us to take in, and it wasn't over yet!
On our left, down in a deep ditch, the apple tree that grew wild, still held some red apples. We'd noticed it for the very first time just weeks ago, which struck both of us as strange, since we've been walking this road for more than 31 years. How could we have missed it all this time? But it's nice to know that our eyes are still opened to new things around us that have been there all the time.
The patch of woods into which the two deer had darted earlier was about twenty shades of gold (at least), and the yellow sign that warned of a curve ahead blended into the landscape. The 'S' on the sign foretold not only of a curve in the road, but serendipitously also of the ones on the road, put there earlier by a fishtailing car.
We were in full sensory mode now. It was as if once our antennae were up and receiving, there were more and more signals coming in. The crickets chirping, the scent of beans switching over to corn as we passed the drying stalks, the silhouettes of the mosquitoes swarming just above our heads, and there - once again - the two deer had emerged from the woods to chance another bite of field corn. They had their radar turned on too, hearing us as we talked quietly about them, and they were gone in a flash. They didn't know we only wanted to admire their beauty, but we counted ourselves lucky that we got to see them at all.
We neared home, and gave a nod to the neighbor's cat, which we've dubbed Mr. Ugly. (We don't know its real name, but it's so ugly, it's cute, and I secretly hope one just like it shows up here someday.) Just ahead, we saw a couple of our own kitties - Boo, then Sunny - walking to meet us, as is usually the case when we return home from these walks. We always smile, because we like to think they missed us and that their meows are telling us so.
I mentioned what an overload our senses have taken with this little jaunt. Sight. Hearing. Touch. Smell. Only taste was missing. I grabbed Romie's hand and led him to the back of Our Little Acre. I had the perfect ending in mind, but kept silent. When we came to the back of the property, I reached up and plucked a ripe, red apple from our tree and handed it to him. The crack of his bite into it told me what I already knew - mmmmm...just right. We shared that 'Red Delicious' apple and this time, I think God was pleased.
He's given us so much, hasn't He? In spite of the world economic situation and the chaos that accompanies an election year, He still finds ways to tell us that He's in His heaven and all's right with the world.
And though I don't like what is coming - winter - God spoke to us in a way that He knew we would understand. When the snow bites our cheeks in the deep of February, we will remember this day, this walk, and all that we experienced.
Still, a camera would have been nice.