A Walk in My Woods.

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I love October.

This October, however, was off to a cold and rainy start — plus a couple unexpected bills thrown my way. Also, we had no heat (again). The owners of this house told us the propane tank was half full but when we turned the heat on, it was empty. So, it was cold for a couple days, which brought me back to last winter in the RV. Not as cold as the RV, but still needed hoodies and blankets and warm socks. I was slightly amused. Some sweet friends loaned us their space heaters so the cold didn’t last long. And then it warmed up again! Oh, October.

Today arrived with warm sunshine and bright colors. After cleaning the house, I decided to go for a walk in my woods and snap some photos of the changing leaves. They’re not at their brightest, but still lovely.

That’s right. My woods: the beautiful three acres (or so) of woods behind this house.

Behind this house is a grassy hill, surrounded by trees. Through the trees is a mowed path to a little clearing just before you enter the woods. It’s a delightful path that feels slightly magical every time I walk down through it. I love it. I especially love the woods.

Now, instead of driving to the nearest nature preserve as I used to do when I lived in the Chicago area, I can walk through my own backyard. Ooooh! So excited!

The funny thing is, I’m slightly terrified of walking by myself out there.

When I took my walks in the preserves of the Chicago suburbs, I had no fear or worries. But here? There’s a little bit of fear and nervousness as I walk down to the woods. Is it the large spiders (including that tarantula-like eight-legged creature that crawled over my bare feet last week, resulting in a declaration that I’m done with flip flops)? The webs everywhere (tip: carry a stick and wave it around in front of you like you’re a ninja wielding an awesome sword)? The swooping bats? The fluffy baby skunks? The potential of animals attacking me? The fear of getting hit by a wandering bullet from a hunter’s rifle? The noises I never heard before? Stepping on a snake? I… don’t know. Maybe all of those. But at the same time, I’m enchanted. Wildlife to observe. Plants to notice. Quiet to appreciate. And fresh air! And this is all… in my backyard. Marvelous, indeed.

So, so looking forward to the Autumn season ahead.

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Hope you are well, friends. Love.

summer’s end.

Technically, summer isn’t over until the middle of September — but for me, summer ends when I go back to work at the end of August. Today. Yes, I know it’s [finally] ninety degrees outside (what is up with the mild weather this year?), but in my mind, the season of summer days is over when I’m back in the classroom. When September rolls around next week, I’ll be putting up my fall decor. I know some of you are secretly planning to do this too. Don’t lie!
But, oh! What a summer it was!

My goal was to live, live, live! And I did!

Just a few photos and words:

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I turned twenty-seven, hiked up a mountain for the first time, visited both the Rocky Mountains and drove through the Appalachian foothills, tried disc golf, spent a weekend in an RV, spent many afternoons by the pool, ate lunch along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico, visited two new [to me] states, had my first job as the classroom teacher, spent time with farm animals, bought a pair of big-girl cowboy[girl?] boots, slept in a tent for the first time, kayaked across a lake, saw Jay Leno perform live, got baptized, picked up dozens more geocaches, prayed more, looked at stars, had many quiet and beautiful mornings, started dreadlocks, visited friends I haven’t seen in years, met new friends in person and online, deepened some friendships, quietly let go of other ones, explored my immediate community, met more of my husband’s extended family, started taking afternoon naps, read a huge pile of books, line danced until 2am, cuddled every day with my cats, loved my husband more, spent time with family, hooped my heart out, drank everything in mason jars, and counted my blessings. So many blessings.

This summer was everything I wanted it to be and more:

remarkably ordinary, simply beautiful, and incredibly full.