Mid-Autumn Hijinks

I took several walks this autumn, some to capture the scenes and some to escape my office and enjoy the sun, crisp air, and brilliant colors. I usually walk late morning or early afternoon when my office begins to close in on me and the needs of students (and others) begin to take a toll, but early one November morning I noticed an unusual sight as I glanced out the window on my way to make copies. An early morning lightning storm took down a huge limb from a favorite tree. I grabbed my camera, raced outdoors, and explored the area before the grounds team came and removed the limb which blocked an entire sidewalk.

[Click an image for a closer look]

I’m not sure if you can tell from the pics, but the limb was pretty large. It blocked a wide, well-traveled path and even almost consumed another tree (see last pic in the collage).

Once outside, it was difficult to simply go back to my office with papers, students, and last minute class prep, so my camera and I took a short walk to capture more of the season on that post-rainy morning.

There was so much beauty in the trees as the summer green slowly gave in to the autumn glow. [Click an image for a closer look]

Of course, the leaves deserved a bit of “close up” attention.

[Click an image for a closer look]

I took many photo walks alone during the last few months. My friend Cy, who often enjoyed campus photo walks with me, was rarely available to walk this past semester because our schedules conflicted. This turned out to be practice for my future campus walks because Cy moved “far, far away” today to explore “new territory” with her camera. ūüė¶ The good news, though, is that she finally started a blog to share her unique images and experiences, so be sure to welcome her to the blogosphere and show her some blog love: Pink Nabi.

Until tomorrow…

Photo Walk: First Day of Autumn Sightings

I’ve been craving time with my camera, so yesterday I arrived at work 30 minutes before conferences with students were scheduled to begin and took a brief walk–camera and iPhone in tow. As expected, there weren’t many signs of autumn, but the walk provided a refreshing start to my day and a clear mind as I headed into the weekend.

My campus walks always start with the trees. The oaks did not disappoint with their gnarly trunks and roots. The fungus attracted my attention here.

Notice the resting ent?

I wonder how he got here from Middle Earth. Or is he a tree troll?

The Dogwoods have so many interesting transformations throughout the year. I’ll have to make a point of charting the changes one year. They’re showing signs of autumn.

Of course, the evergreen deserves admiration all year long.

It wouldn’t be the first day of autumn in Alabama without butterflies and pink.

It’s about to take flight…

A morning walk requires a squirrel.

A couple of bonus photos shot earlier in the week: One provides proof of autumn.

And a tree I encounter (almost) every time I take a campus walk. There’s so much to love and study.

As I’m reviewing these photos, I’m thinking about my older brother, Dennis–a photographer–and feeling a strong connection to him through our mutual love for nature photography. I’m praying him through a medical crisis and sending hugs and deepest love from the Deep South to the West Coast. I love you, big brother!

Photo Walk: Praying with Trees

I had to take a walk today.  I had to get out of my office and soak in the sun and rid myself of some of the ugliness that had been clawing at my soul.

The last few weeks have been bad. Not¬†because¬†everything has gone wrong and life has been topsy-turvy, but in soul-killing ways.¬† I’ve been dealing¬†with too many people who simply aren’t nice and it was making me physically tired.¬† Like, I-want-to-sleep-to-not-deal-with-people tired.

The “everydayness” of the pettiness and meanness and slights were taking a toll.¬† No matter how well¬†I let things ‚Äúroll off¬†my back,‚ÄĚ when the assaults are hard, fast, and consistent, tiny slights feel like boulders. They aren’t so easy to roll away.¬† They just sort of pile up and impede my ability to ‚Äúmove on‚ÄĚ or not take things “to heart.”

I found it difficult to shake the mood that was gripping me and dragging me to a dark, dark place. I had to do something, so I¬†“escaped” for a bit.

I didn’t take my camera. I didn’t plan to take photos.¬†¬†(I had my phone with me¬†out of habit and for security).¬†¬†I just needed to walk and talk with God for a moment. I needed him to “right” my perspective and reset my mood.¬† I needed him to expel from my spirit the¬†foulness that¬†was intent on sullying¬†my soul.

After a few steps,  I looked up.

The trees were communing and basking in the warmth of this so-called winter and playing against the clear blue sky.

I paused.

I took a deep, cleansing breath.

I listened.

I allowed God’s Spirit to bathe me and exorcise the yuckiness.

And fill me with good things–things that are lovely, pure, right, and¬†true.

I’m light and airy and my gratitude is floating in the wind, dancing with the trees.