Armchair Peregrinations

October 28, 2002

Last weekend as I was walking in the old historic district of Sumter toward Memorial Park, I passed a fence which is usually sprinkled with honeysuckle blooms which I always stop to smell in summer. I noticed only one bloom, which was fading, on that Saturday afternoon in October. I was surprised to find even that. One more indicator that Fall is here. The summer flowers are almost gone.

The trees are still green and there aren't too many other outward appearances of the season change, except for the cassia with their beautiful bright yellow flowers. It is our most colorful sign of autumn since the trees don't do much in the way of a color show.

At the beach last night, the wind and seas were calm when I went out around sundown, and that is always a kind of unusual experience since I am accustomed to steady sea breezes out there. I sat for awhile and read and then walked along the beach for a ways, looking at tiny shell fragments that had washed up on shore. The tide was coming in and small waves were lapping lazily at the shore. The ocean's energy seemed to be spent for awhile in this calm, nearly windless dusk. It was nice, but made me feel slightly mood and out of sorts.

October 19, 2002

I sit here typing at the computer in my bedroom and have one wiindow that looks out on to the world. I will tell you about this view. The frame is two-thirds filled with the apartment building next door and the v-shaped side roof. Above that, in the top-third of the frame, however, is my patch of sky and trees to observe through all the seasons, as I have written about here. Essentially, there is the sky and the tops of a big pine tree, damaged 13 years ago by Hurricane Hugo, and a tall and beautiful oak tree. I see them sway in the breezes. I watch the leaves come and go in the oak.

Yesterday, I looked out as I was reading and eating breakfast at the computer and saw the trees only in the haze and mist of early morning. But I knew that was only temporary and would lift. Today, a Saturday morning, it was clear and bright with blue skies. Now within the past few minutes, clouds have rolled in and there are patches of blue as I watch occaasional birds flying by. It was much cooler the past few days, and I am looking forward to seeing more migrating birds, and especially geese from up north. They will be coming soon.

My top third of the window is enough for me to see far beyond where I am sitting.

October 17, 2002

Walking to the college Tuesday at lunch, I was enjoyng the cool fall air. Although it was very cloudy and overcast, the change in temperature was a welcome relief. But as I walked beneath my favorite old live oak trees, I suddenly began to think of the awful news of the day and it began to weigh me down as I attempted to contemplate in inconceivable. Just then, I noticed a pure white pigeon flutter down from above to the ground not 15 feet from me. How beautiful to see a white pigeon! They are rare, at least it seems to me they are. I normally don't pay much attention to pigeons, they are so ubiquitous in the city and everywhere in our urban landscape. But this one made me appreciate what was before me, gave me a needed lift in spirits, and allowed me to continue on my walk in a much better frame of mind. Such a simple thing.

October 15, 2002

Fall finally came in with a brisk and sudden awareness of our great longing and need for cool air and windy autumn skies, and a turning of the page on the season past, with finality and expeditiousness. Fall is here! I am so glad.

I could have walked all over downtown yesterday, so completely bouyant and quick was my step in this new time of winter's preparation. I took out my flannel shirt to sleep in for the first time. That is always the surest indicator that the weather has changed. On the porch at the house in Charleston, I could sit in the rocking chair with comfort and ease, enjoying the many thoughts that flood in when fall is really here.

October 12, 2002

Yesterday as I was walking into the garden of the house in Charleston, through the gate and under the wax myrtle trees, I sensed that subtle but unmistakable feeling I get each autumn about this same time. It was the feeling of a new season, a turning away from summer, and a readiness to embrace cool air and fall memories once again. All of a sudden I just knew it was no longer summer. It seems to come upon be rather unexpectedly, this feeling I am struggling to put into words.

Leaves from the crepe myrtles litter the brick walkway, and although most of the trees are still green, and there are no overt signs of autumn, the afternoon light is different and speaks most assuredly of this new season we are in. I can almost tangibly feel the changes in the light late in the afternoons.

October 6, 2002

It has been so hot this weekend, the beginning of October. It seems more like August, and I don't care for it at all. Everything seems out of whack. For one thing, it's even hard to imagine the leaves changing color with this type of heat, and if the mountains don't get some real cool nights soon, I am wondering what it will be like up there, especially since I had hopes of possibly driving up to see the color.

It has been a quiet weekend here. I went to the Fall Garden Show, perspiring under the hot sun as I walked around the outdoor exhibits. I'm more than ready for this weather to be gone. Fortunately, at the beach tonight there was a nice breeze and I was able to sit out for about an hour and read, but the skies were hazy and summer is most certainly lingering there, as well. But that's okay.. Summer can last indefinitely at the beach. The humidity yesterday afternoon was intense. Reminded me of New Orleans in mid-summer. Maybe not quite as bad. Global warming at work?

October 2, 2002

I was walking to the college the day before yesterday, a sunny and beautiful early fall day, just a little bit warm, but pleasant enough. I heard a mockingbird start to sing its sweet and melodious song, and as I sometimes do, I turned to see if I could spot the bird, which sounded so near.

To my delight, I had turned to look at a branch in the oak tree right next to me on the corner where I had stopped, and there, not five feet away and completely unafraid, was the sweet little songster, throat quivering and beak opening rapidly as the notes sailed forth in happy exultation. He seemed to look at me and more notes poured out, in endless variety as is the trademark of these birds. I felt a sense of love and caring for this creature and even started to talk to him, thanking him for this gift that added such momentum to the tenor of my day. How I enjoy the songs of mockingbirds, and always have. This little friend seemed to want to sing just for me. And he did, until I turned around and then back to look at him so near me, and he had flown off.

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