The Urban Woods in Early November

Nov woods hillsideThis week I stuck to the bike path for brisk walks rather than rambling up into the woods.

Nov woods near wallI passed the culvert where the path into the woods begins.

Nov woods maplesI continued on down the paved trail covered with yellow and brown leaves that sent up the acrid smell of fall.

NOv oaksEventually the oaks came into view. This small wooded parkland contains the remanents of an oak savannah.

The sky above them was dramatic.

Nov oaks and clouds(Click on pictures to enlarge.)

Sere and Yellow Leaf

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAFirst day of Standard Time. Whose idea is it to mess with time anyway? First light it was right on the freezing mark on the thermometer outside the kitchen window. Yet no visible frost. The good news, besides an extra hour’s sleep, was the blue sky. Saturday was another day of cold rain here and Friday had winds up to 85 kph. So most of the leaves  have fallen. Even the red maple down the street is half bare now.


red tree #2Time to draw in. Keep the house fragrant simmering bones into stock and then turning that into stews and soups or a hearty chili.

Time to put new batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Testing they’re in right, is always good for an adrenalin rush. I saved my son’s life once by presenting him with a carbon monoxide alarm, guiltily, thinking it was a poor gift –until 2 weeks later.

Time to haul out the big wool blankets and the down coats. Time to waterproof the shoes and boots.

Somehow, somewhere, the shovel I kept in the car has gone missing, but the bag of kitty litter is back in with the spare tire, ready for icy roads. The brush and scraper are  in the trunk, but I still have to take out the full size broom for the heavy snow. Which surely will not come for a while.

The leaves on the lawn are dry and yellow. In the gutter, they turn wet and brown. Crank up the fiddle! Break out the grog!


The Fall #2: journal 120

My upstairs neighbours made me a generous gift of time between “The First and Second Sleep” (, 1:45-3:10, that would be in the A. and M. After an initial, “What the …..”, I settled down and pulled out journal 120.  I had the luxury of writing a really long entry.

When I went out this morning, in my wellies, to take pictures of the autumn leaves in the rain, one of them apologized. “Everyone has the right to live a life,” I heard myself say. It did sound as if there had been a special circumstance -very late arrival of a house guest- but not all of me agreed with what I said.

Among other journal observations, I had blogged about how our attitude to fall has been changing in the last few weeks, from melancholy at the way summer was threatening to fade away (Summer’s Almost Gone:Jim Morrison and I Lament) to putting a positive spin on the season in Early October  and a celebration of its colour A Tribute to Autumn, reblogged.

Today there is no possibility except acceptance. It’s over. We are bound toward the dark time. We aren’t going to be able to glue all those leaves back on the trees.

Summer’s Almost Gone: Jim Morrison and I lament

Woke up this morning, not early, 7 o’clock. Whaaat? It’s still dark. Not a glimmer of dawn. But I happen to know the sun was supposed to rise here at 6:49. Simple solution – go back to sleep.

At 8:30, it is just very gloomy, rain is pelting down, trees are tossing their heads and the temperature is falling down past 15C/60F. At least the papers have arrived and their weather maps show rain from Iqaluit to Maimi. Even Houston and El Paso are getting wet.

Yesterday, Friday, it was hot and humid with sun burning down. But the traffic, which had been its usual summer-lite on Wednesday, was back to its non-summer impossible. I hit a detour 5 minutes from home that held me back 15 minutes and even my usual “deke-around” routes had huge trucks barrelling toward me on narrow residential streets.

I was late for my tai chi class. So were ten others. We sat on the benches changing our shoes.

“It’s over, isn’t it?” the woman across from me said. I only just kept myself from falling on her shoulder in a grieving embrace.

Then wouldn’t you know it, on the way home, Jim Morrison “Summer’s Almost Gone”, going on in atonal fashion about having been calmly unaware with gold burned into our hair, “Where will we be/when summer’s almost gone?”

Easy answer, Jim, sitting here, staring out at the rain and the maple leaves turning orange from the edges in before our very eyes.

We are moving on in our grief in my town at least. Mostly, we have stopped talking about it. Some of us have buried ourselves in a relentless round of movie-going or celebrity stalking attendant on our film festival. (That would be TIFF.) There are many more flyers in today’s papers and from the looks of them, others are going to hit the stores to buy crazily- patterned shoes and clothes. One caption cries, “Let loose the houndstooth”. Or look – what a nice dining room table and all the gewgaws to set it up for a harvest dinner party. I do have Perception and World Without End waiting on the TIVO.

Here in TO, we get to enjoy a lot of indoor time once summer ends, so why not get the rugs cleaned and set up the new filing system. That should be fun!

Jim, how can you people in California even pretend that you have winter?

Oh, come on now, buck up, Joyce! Temperatures of 27/80 are forecast for later next week. Didn’t I have to call you to task on this issue in Septuagenarians in the Wilderness part 3:
“Oh, give it up my friend. There will be warmer, dryer days. There will be other summers. There will be other burning chef’s hats. We’re a good way yet from closing time.”