Monday, November 05, 2018

Walking weather ~ my column from Sunday's paper

Jilda and I walk year around. Each season has its own rewards and challenges. During winter when the temps drop, we wear more layers than an onion. When it rains, we put on the raincoats that we bought several years ago before traveling to Ireland. When it’s hot, we walk naked. My favorite time of year to walk is autumn. To me, early autumn is walking weather.

Today, when we walked, I wore walking shorts and a sweatshirt. An awning of clouds hung overhead. The temperature was in the mid-50s with a wind out of the west. It felt good to be alive. Taz the Wonder Yorkie pranced. She’s getting up there in the years and is not as agile as she once was. She hates August, but this tiny critter loves cool weather as much as we do.

As Jilda and I walked around the barn today, I felt a solitary drop of rain on my face. We both wondered out loud if the weatherman got the forecast wrong. The showers never fell, so we kept walking to get our daily steps.

The leaves in the hollow beside our walking trail are beginning to turn. Right now, the colors are yellow, amber, and snuff brown. Soon orange and crimson will join in forming mother nature’s kaleidoscope. I snapped a few pictures, but the light wasn’t right. The frame-worthy photographs are still a few weeks away. 

I’ve already heard people complaining about the cooler weather. Jilda struggles in the heat, and I fear if someone whines about autumn within earshot of her, she may smack them. She’s been known to do that.

On the second lap, I caught a whiff of burning leaves on the breeze. This aroma conjures up fond memories from my childhood. 

When I was in grammar school, one of my chores was raking the leaves of the giant sycamore tree in our front yard. These crunchy mountains didn’t last long because I couldn’t resist running as fast as my legs would carry me and doing a swan dive into the middle. The leaves itched when they got into my shirt, and down my pants but that was a small price to pay for a little fun.

Mother wouldn’t let me burn the leaves unsupervised so that duty fell to my older brother Neil. He hated raking, but he didn’t mind watching me work. He enjoyed burning the leaves. After firing up the piles, we’d sit on the concrete steps and watch them burn. Watching autumn leaves burn can be hypnotic.

When piles burned down to ash and winking embers, we’d head inside for supper. Our clothes smelled like we’d been fighting forest fires. 

Neil was several years older than me, and we didn’t hang out as much as I would have liked, so these memories of time spent with him are special. 

Happy autumn, and just for the record, Jilda and I don’t walk naked when the weather is hot.


  1. I am glad that you don't walk naked under the summer sun. Sunburnt delicate bits are not a lot of fun. And less so when they peel. (And don't ask me how I know that).

  2. Autumn is the melacholic 'andante' to make way to winter's solemn 'adagio' (George Sand). As a musician, you'll probably agree to that.

  3. I'm trying to erase the picture in my mind, lol... I'll wear my sunglasses even though the sun is hiding... I'm glad you are enjoying cooler weather.
    Here's it's raining again and though we have our power back, my daughter in town still hasn't got her power back since Friday. It's cold and damp.

  4. Never having lived where trees shed their leaves, I'm totally besotted! I'd be right there with Jilda were anyone to complain about this weather.

  5. So glad you are enjoying the cooler weather. I don't complain much but when winter comes, you'll hear me saying BrrrChill a lot. No use complaining though, we can do little but try to enjoy what we've got when we get it.

  6. Anonymous1:18 PM

    I much prefer colder weather. You can always put on an extra sweater or even a coat, but you can strip down only so far!!

  7. Man does this kick in a lot of memories. Very good column and will resonate, that is for sure.

  8. I wish I could go for nice long walks

  9. I’m glad you don’t walk disrespect but the neighbours mig(t talk...hahahaaa. That is the problem with can’t get cool. In winter you can dress in layers and stay warm but nothing one can do in the summer. I love walks and wish I could go a long time.


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