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Autumn dressed up for the occasion

When the fog reflected the colors of sunrise.

Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded.  It’s a relationship between equals.  Only when we know our own darkness well, can we be present with the darkness of others.  Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.

~ Pema Chodron

The early Greeks defined presence as the fundamental characteristic of being alive.

I believe it is not easy for any of us to be fully present, and that we settle for shadows and glimpses, for fleeting moments that sift through our hands and are gone. We may become clouded from impinging distractions as we are carried into countless pressures, anxieties, and demands; or else we try to escape through the many abundant and tempting means at our disposal; or we seek to overpower obstacles through adrenalin-driven pursuits, or with our intellects, determination, and skillful maneuvers, or by other strengths and capabilities, continually striving for something out of reach, or once attained, soon abandoned, while we silently lack what we most want.

As flawed human beings, it can be difficult to see beyond ourselves and understand each other intimately and compassionately. Being hampered by our limitations and the context of our past experience (or inexperience), we can be blind to each other even when we don’t want to be. Our failings can also blind us to ourselves, preventing us from reaching a deeper understanding below the surface of self-awareness.

~ John Justin David, from Parabola, October 26, 2020

Breathing in love.  (The color pink is associated with kindness, love, compassion, nurturing, intimacy, and femininity.)

What strange times we live in.  It’s as if we’re always approaching a threshold to a doorway, and we have no idea what’s on the other side.  On this side we have a pandemic and the exposed man behind the curtain disseminating distractions and chaos, if we choose to engage.  It IS a choice, but I think we need a little bit of awareness to recognize it as such.  On the other side, who knows?  I think there is only one certainty in life and that’s uncertainty.  We never really know.  I do have some hope that whatever is on the other side might be at least a little bit better.

I made the choice to turn off the machine of smoke and mirrors for a little while, and take myself outside where Mother Nature’s version of reality is much more beautiful, even if she does broadcast her own version of smoke and mirrors in the form of autumn fogs and mists.  It should be noted that she, too, has a dark side, and I see that as well.  I find bones, feathers, and even the occasional body.  Yesterday, I found one of the yellow-rumped warblers lying on the ground with no obvious signs of what had killed it.

The colors of sunrise at my feet.

There has been a lot of talk among the people in the (online) groups I hang out in about processing the fact that over 70 million people voted for the loser, and what that might mean.  Some see it as a betrayal.  I know that feeling from 2016.  I felt it then, but not so much now.  I was not expecting the base to suddenly de-base themselves (there might be the possibility of a pun in there somewhere).  They’ve gone as low as they can go, in my opinion.  I want to be compassionate.  Truly, I do.  But I find it difficult to open my heart anymore to people who want to stomp on it.  I spent the past four years trying to be open and understanding in discussions concerning the why’s of supporting that guy whose name I don’t want to use.  I have sometimes thought I should start there, with the loser.  Find some compassion in my heart for him.  Even a teeny tiny bit.  There have been times I almost manage it.  My halo fitting and elevation to sainthood are not going to happen.  I can’t quite get there.

At the beginning of a hike on the Milburn Landng Trail, Pocomoke River State Park.

Ah well.  I’m at it again.  Speculating and percolating and trying to figure things out.  Let’s take a walk in the woods instead.  I went out to the Milburn Landing side of Pocomoke River State Park on Monday to see what autumn has been up to lately.  A refresher about the park:  It stretches out on both sides of the Pocomoke River.  There is Shad Landing on the south bank of the river and Milburn Landing on the north bank.  The Milburn Landing side is a little more wild.  Actually, a lot more wild.  The Algonquin Cross Country Trail was a little overgrown in spots, with fallen trees blocking the way.  The pandemic has  made it difficult for the people who maintain the trails to stay on top of things.  The rainy weather during the summer probably didn’t help.

Spots of color.

I took a picnic lunch with me.  I’ve been getting into wraps lately, instead of the usual sandwiches.  For Monday’s outing, it was a chickpea salad with a bunch of veggies (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, that sort of thing) and a good helping of olive salad, the kind they use on muffalettas.  It was super yummy.  I make the chickpea salad in a way that is similar to how I used to make chicken or tuna salad for sandwiches.  Mayo and celery to start.  Then I add capers, some Dijon mustard, and a little lemon juice.  Sometimes onions.  Or pickles.  I’ve been thinking about making a version that’s similar to a curried chicken salad I once had at a restaurant in Annapolis (Maryland).  I would use my favorite Jamaican curry powder and add chopped apples instead of capers.  I’m going to do that next time.

The deeper you go into the woods, the more color you’ll find.

It was relatively quiet out in the woods.  I saw another couple, going in the opposite direction, and surprisingly, wearing masks.  A little while later there were a couple of young women on horses riding by, also going in the opposite direction.  When I went out to where the picnic tables are, by the river, I noticed there were campers in the campground.  The picnic area and playground were empty.  It was a beautiful day to sit by the river.

Walking towards the picnic area and the Pocomoke River.

I have a ton of photos from my hike, and maybe I’ll get around to sharing more of them.  The ideal thing, I’m thinking, is to put down my camera for a while and start sharing the past two months worth of photos that are sitting here waiting for me to sort through them.  One of these days, I might do that.

Autumn glow by the river.

For now, I have something else I wish to show you.  We had some excitement here on the ranch yesterday.  It was a dark, dreary, rainy day.  A cold front was moving through.  It’s possible some of the rain belonged to Eta, the drunken tropical storm/hurricane/tropical storm that moved around in the Gulf of Mexico for a while.  (If you followed Eta’s path, you’ll know why I used the word “drunken.”)  Even on dark and dreary and rainy days, I go for walks.  M was out on his walk in the late afternoon when he called me to come out and “bring the camera!”  We have a new resident in the pole barn.


It’s an Eastern Screech Owl.  It was perched on the top of the rolled-up canopy on M’s boat when we saw it yesterday.  They live in this area year-round, and eat quite a variety of animals and insects, including other birds (and rarely, they can be cannibalistic).  This is the first time I have seen one in the wild.  I’ve seen a few at bird rescue facilities.  They’re relatively small (about the size of a robin or European starling) and stocky.  This one looks a little cross-eyed to me, but maybe that was the weird angle.  It was hard to get a good photo of it since it was tucked in between the canopy and the roof of the pole barn.

The prayer flags continue to unravel.

I had a Zoom chat with one of our fellow bloggers this morning.  I was so excited to finally meet Dawn and talk with her.  I got to meet Princess Katie, too, although she didn’t seem too impressed with me or with Zoom.  It was awesome to hear and see Dawn, and to be able to just sit and talk the way we would if we met up for coffee or tea or a hike.

If anyone else would be interested in meeting up via Zoom, let me know and we’ll see if we can arrange something.  It is, as I’ve mentioned in the past, easier for me in the early morning (before 8 AM, Eastern Time) because of my limited (and crappy, but I’m grateful for it anyway) internet service.  Weather plays a role, too.  I had to cancel my Zoom play date with the Little Wookie yesterday because of the rain and heavy cloud cover.  Satellite internet doesn’t work too well under those conditions.  Sometimes it doesn’t work at all.  Whatever the time of day, I’m sure we can work something out.  It would be nice to get a group together so we can isolate together and perhaps meet once a month or so, just to chat.

Just before sunset.

Thank you so much for visiting with me today.  They say the rain is going to move out and the sky will clear sometime this afternoon.  Let’s meet at the Point for sunset.  Sometimes our best sunsets happen after a front or storm has moved through.  Sunset is scheduled for 4:52 PM.  It is chilly today.  You’ll probably need a coat and a hat.  Boots aren’t a bad idea, either.  We had nearly over 3 inches of rain yesterday.  It’s pretty sloshy out there.

Please be safe, be well, and be kind.

Sunset light in the grasses.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  1,601)  An owl living in the pole barn.  1,602)  Hunting season.  I would not like to witness the killing, but I know it’s necessary.  The deer herd needs to be culled (there are far too many of them now).  Humans are the only predators here, and I know that the people in this area who hunt do so to put food on their table.  1,603)  The colors of sunrise and sunset that play on the grasses.  1,604)  Breaks from the news.  I know I can’t hide my head in the sand forever, but it does feel good to take a break from the drama every now and then.  1,605)  Chatting with a friend on Zoom.

A moment of awe.


Robin is...

31 thoughts on “Autumn dressed up for the occasion

  1. There is something about a pink sky that says compassion. Great choice of words. Love the walk in the woods. There is just something about the season that strikes me as both beautiful and melancholy. Yet somehow, when those two meet, I smile. The next to the last pic of the grasses is my favorite, but the last image is the most stunning.

    Hey, Robin’s readers. I invite you to stop by for a beach walk about water as I feature Robin’s pictures! … As we know, she supplies pure beauty. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Frank. 🙂 I agree with you about autumn being both (beautiful and melancholy). Your comment reminds me of the saying about how we humans hold joy in one hand and grief in the other (and perhaps, gratitude in the middle). As always, it was great collaborating with you.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s nice to see your autumn images, as ours are pretty much gone and done. It extends the season for me. 🙂
    Love the Screech Owl’s camouflage plumage, looks just like bark! Mimicry in nature amazes me… seriously, how many thousands of generations did it take for that to happen? Whew!
    Hope your weekend is a good one!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh that owl—how cool is that! Just love it. Also how nice that you and Dawn were able to Zoom. She and her husband and I met for coffee a year or two ago in a nearby town. It was so delightful to connect in person.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely, lovely photos!!! LOVE the owl. He’s only the size of a robin??? He looks much larger than that! Do you think he’s going to live in there?

    It was so much fun talking to you this morning! Thank you so much for setting that up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Dawn! I really enjoyed our chat. 🙂 When he’s fluffed up, the owl looks bigger than a robin to me. Smaller than a hawk. He disappeared for a day or so, but was back yesterday. I hope he will continue living there.


  5. More awesome photos. We have had some golden days lately, with the beautiful light and the leaves swirling down. Tonight it was beautiful, too, with a whiff of winter in the air, not so much in temperature, but in scent. So nice to visit your hiking spot and see your owl. Screech owls are small, but surprisingly heavy in hand. Curry the little bird’s favor and it will stay and eat your rodentia…I’d be in for a zoom or a once a month group zoom. It’s going to be a difficult winter and I think the more people we stay in contact with, the better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lisa. 🙂 I’ve been catching whiffs of winter in the air, too. We’re hoping the owl will stick around. He or she is hanging out where we usually have a large, black rat snake, but the weather is cold and I would think the snakes are hibernating.
      I will email you soon about a zoom. I agree with you about finding ways for connection and the coming winter.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My gosh, what beautiful pictures! And the owl, of course, is a stunner. It is very hard to understand why 71 million people would vote for such a bizarre, grotesque man. But I am trying. My way is through reading. Zooming sounds fun. Maybe after the holidays. Right now I am busy with my new book and am feeling pretty darned tired.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. the machine of smoke and mirrors made it for me – it helps me to see that automacy of it – I get SO used to it
    The owl looks NO NONSENSE! I have a photo of a dancing owl – if you want to see it, I don’t know how to share photos here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would love to see your dancing owl, Leelah! I don’t know how to share photos in the comments, but you could leave me a link to it, maybe? If you have it posted on your blog.


  8. How cool that you and Dawn got to chat online! I don’t know why more of us don’t do that (Well, yes, actually I do — we wouldn’t get a thing done if we did, ha!) Love the owl — I’ve never seen a real screech owl. He almost looks like he’s accusing you of something, ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for the lovely walk–and that owl. Wow!! That would make my day for sure to see that.
    Frank is right about beautiful and melancholy, but yet making one smile at the beauty. The shorter days, but the sun glow through leaves. . .

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Lovely photos, especially the owl. I love owls. I enjoyed the walk through the woods. I’m not a big fan of hiking myself so I enjoy being able to do it without worrying about snakes and ticks and the like, so thanks. I’m starting to think that news orgs should have a psychologist on staff — for interpretation of behavior by obviously mentally ill people, but also for staff who get caught up in competition among themselves/other news orgs and who, like the rest of us, have been gaslighted for four years now. The loser of this just past election needs attention constantly and they gave it to him for too long. They need to cut it off completely and only report on actual news (like if he does something actually related to his current job). This is a trouble media, especially TV, has had for some time (former newspaper reporter here, and papers aren’t off the hook completely either). I still have hope they’ll get it together. ANYWAY. Thank you for the lovely leaves. A nice Sunday view for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome, Tara, and thank you. 🙂 I totally agree with everything your wrote about the journalists/news folks. For the past four years I’ve been saying something similar. They need to stop reporting on every little tweet, and start paying attention to things that are actual news. Unfortunately, I think it’s a ratings game and news has become the new reality show that requires drama to hook the viewer.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. The quote at the beginning is so beautiful and so meaningful… To be here, is a kind of mind voyage, to see, to hear, to feel with you and to have a dept in my own philosophical thinking moments… This was so beautiful. Not only your photography, but also your words putting amazing human touches, pcitures, yes, almost a life especially for me in such a far distance, to feel your positive touches, makes me to know that nia you are not alone. Thank you so much I am so glad to meet with you, be in safe, Blessing and Happiness, Love, nia ( I am not sure about my blog that it could fill your worlds, as you did to me, but if you wish I would be so glad, just send an e-mail or a request!)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I like your photos. I offer little in the way of an explanation about why so many Americans voted for an amoral man. I am disheartened by it, but not surprised. Nature is lovely, some people much less so.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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