Armchair Peregrinations

September 27, 2003

It has been so nice to sit on the porch during late afternoons recently to relax deeply with the gentle motions of my favorite rocking chair, feet propped up on the railing, looking at the sunset sky, and taking in the sights and smells of early autumn. It is definitely in the air. I saw a pair of birds I had never seen before and knew that there were probably others on their way south in migratory flight.

Yesterday I bought a book of paintings of birds of the Chesapeake Bay and gazed with wonder at the beauty of the herons, hawks, falcons, geese, ducks, and other birds in fall settings along the shores of that magnificent bay, which I know so little about. I have never explored or traveled in that area nor seen any of it upclose. Now, more than ever, I must do so.

September 21, 2003

Sitting by the fountain at the college garden the other day at lunchtime, I was relaxing and enjoying a nice breeze when I noticed the most familiar aroma of cooking in the air. It was like a shock of recognition. It smelled exactly like the kitchen at my aunt's when the cook was preparing a big Southern dinner of fried fish or chicken with steaming bowls of pole beans cooking in fatback. With each breath inhaled of that aroma that wafted over me, I could see a platter of fried bream, crisp and delicious beyond words to describe, fried in a light cornmeal batter. I was momentarily transported back to my childhood summer vacations in Sumter -- such treasured memories. Smells can bring those days of childhood back to me as much as anything I can think of.

September 16, 2003

I was driving over the Connector the other day at rush hour, up over the beautiful marshes and creeks at the mouth of the Ashey River. Unually I look out the car window and down to see that lovely sight and the great expanse of river's end and the harbor leading out to the Atlantic Ocean. But that day, I looked up, and flying above the fray, above the stream of cars whizzing by on concrete, was a picture perfect heron in full flight, wings outspread, only a dozen or so feet above my car. I stared for a moment in awe at this magnificent creature, free and graceful. Then he was gone, having provided a few moments of joy and wonder for a tired commuter.

September 8, 2003

Walked outside yesterday after being inside all day and was greeted by wind and thick gray skies, but....much cooler weather. The first hints, quite strong, in fact of autumn. How glorious to get some relief after an intensely hot August. Now I am thinking I must make plans to go to the mountains in October.

It's still gray and overcast outside this morning, but I must not let this affect the beginning of another week. I do love this time of year, and have in front of me now a beautiful scene of a country road, lined with orange and yellow leafed trees in autumn, probably somewhere in the mountains of Georgia. It's a timeless scene, repeated every year around this time at that same spot, somewhere, I know not where. A place I would love to visit if I knew how to reach it.

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