Armchair Peregrinations


November 30, 2002

The other day I was sitting for a while in the garden at the college, on a nice autumn day at lunch hour, resting and listening to the flowing water in the goldfish pond. When I left, I discovered that my foot was asleep, as occasionally happens when one is in one spot for too long. I hobbled down the sidewalk and came to a stop outside the garden gate in front of a huge sisanqua camellia in full bloom, white blossoms covering the ten-foot high shrub. Since I was momentarily incapacitated and had to wait until my leg was back to normal and I could continue walking, I stood there observing the flowers closely for a few minutes. I saw wasps gathering nectar. I noticed all the small details of the leaves and the flowers. I looked up into the sky and enjoyed the splendid feeling one gets on a fine autumn day in November. Sometimes, we have no choice but to look closely at our surroundings, to really see what is in front of us. How nice it would be to do this much more often, consciously and deliberately.


November 26, 2002

Hot and cold.. November is winter and late summer combined. I really don't like it to be so changeable, but that's the way it always is. It's supposed to get cold again for Thanksgiving. Let's hope.

The cassia are in full bloom with their bright yellow flowers, as are the sasanqua camellia, which have the most beautiful white flowers covering the bushes in a profusion of lovely blossoms. I can always tell it is late November in Charleston when those flowering shrubs come alive. It's like spring, but in late autumn.

The trees are starting to show the fullest extent of what fall color they muster in these parts, which isn't much, but it does give the appearance of autumn more so than at any other time.

The beach has been especially nice on late weekend afternoons with the sun setting in a clear sky. But theonly time to get out to the beach now is on weekends.. I will plan to explore the cove up by the lighthouse more fully soon and take some really long walks. Also, I want to continue with my series of sunset photographs with all kinds of sky and light conditions.


November 15, 2002

College of Charleston
11/12, 2:15 pm


I have the garden to myself this afternoon during my lunch hour on this mid-November afternoon. It's nice to sit here by the waterfall at the goldfish pond and feel a cool breeze and listen to the gentle sounds of the water. It's my favorite place to come and find a bit of peace and quiet in the middle of downtown.

It's sunny, too, after days of clouds and intermittent heavy rain. There's a lot of blue sky and white clouds, altogether a perfect day, really, for being outside.

I love the sounds of birds. Leaves rustling in the big sycamore tree to my left. They are an interesting combination of yellow and green. Enough yellow to make it really look like an autumn tree, but still lingering in the previous season.

Sycamore trees are truly magnificent. I've seen so many pictures of them alongside streams in the forested "sky island" mountains of central Arizona which rise up frm the desert. And, in New Orleans, they are some of the biggest trees which grow there. I can see them now providing shade and comfort during hot summer afternoons along uptown streets.


November 11, 2002

The days have been so perfectly mild and nice that I am reluctanct to see them exchanged for much cooler nights and days, but winter is drawing near. It is amazing how each year I remark to myself how short the days have become, as if were somehow not to be expected. Gone are the days of after-work walk on the beach. If I go out there now, it will have to be under the moon light. That alone would be incentive enough on nice evenings. The winter beach, though, is a delight in and of itself. Winter is part of the constantly changing mood and atmosphere of the beach. The air on clear, blue-sky days is so crisp and invigoratingly cold. I enjoy it immensely, as long as I am bundled up and warm. And there is nothing like those good, fresh sea breezes all year long. So there is no time of the year that I am not ready at any opportunity to walk alongside the ocean and sense the mystery of that most special place where I walk that is between land and sea.


November 7, 2002

A perfect autumn day outside. Clear blue skies after days of clouds and rain. Cooler at last so that it feels good to wake up in the morning cozy with a blanket on the bed.

There has been no fall color here to speak of, just a few yellow leaves sprinkling among the brown ones. Even my small oak across the parking lot from where I live has been sparsely colorful this year, minus its usual full crown of red leaves, the only tree in our area to do that. So, I'm disappointed and a bit sad I did not get to the mountains again this fall. I just didn't really feel like it. So many things on my mind here and so much to do. A busy time.

The problem is, I tend to want to just stay here and not going anywhere any distance from Charleston. I am too content just the stay put. Don't even take long three-day weekends, which is what I should do. Why am I so set on the familiar, which has become so familiar and routine. It seems to be getting harder and harder to really notice all the little distinctive features of the landscape that I pride myself on observing. I know it is natural to see the same things on one's surroundings, but I want to see deeper, and feel differently, and think about things in new ways. Sometimes it is so hard to do that. Life begins to plateau and before me stretches a long plain or savannah, stretching to the horizon.

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