Thursday, October 13, 2011

Beauty in My Own Back Yard

The first 10 days of October have been absolutely breathtaking in their beauty.  We had 8 days in a row of 80+ degree weather.  We almost set a record on Monday, October 10, but the mercury only managed to inch up to 76 degrees that day!  What a paltry effort on Mother Nature's part.  Had we reached 80 or higher, it would have been our 9th day IN A ROW of 80 plus temperatures in October ... a new record.

I'm not complaining. We've gotten in several days of fall golf.  We've visited apple orchards.  We've cleaned up leaves .. sometimes 2 and 3 times in one day.  Okay ... in the interest of full disclosure, ED has cleaned up leaves ... but I've been right there applauding his efforts and praising him! We've slept with the windows open and the ceiling fans whirling.  I've washed a few windows and mopped a few floors to remove the black dirt that a 60 mph wind blew in, leaving unclothed trees (and dirty floors) in its wake.  We've gone to high school football games in tee shirts and sandals (unheard of in Minnesota in October) and applauded the work of the cute cheerleaders (especially our granddaughter!), watched a grandson play football in the Metrodome, and enjoyed a walk on a school nature trail with another grandson on a beautiful October afternoon.

In between all of these activities I've also found time to sit on our 3-season porch now and then and admire the beauty of our own back yard.  We have a small back yard which is encircled by trees and shrubs.  The first year we lived here, I didn't realize there was a house behind us until winter arrived and all of the trees were bare!  Our 3-season porch is a haven from the world for me. When we went house hunting 18 years ago, it was the one feature on my "must have" list.  There is no television on the porch.  Just windows, lovely, comfortable furniture, and the world outside.  Periodically, Ed "wishes" for a TV out there, but I remain adamant that it is the one room in the house that must remain a respite from football, cooking programs, old cowboy shows, and other daytime distractions.  A book is allowed out there ... a newspaper is allowed out there ... even a radio/iPOD is allowed there.  That's it.  In appreciation of the view from that room on beautiful autumn days, and the serenity it brings me, I captured a picture of it with my camera about 10 days ago.  I didn't have any real reason to take the picture.  Didn't even intend to share it with anyone.  The view itself just begged to be captured.  Little did I know the purpose it would later serve.

On Tuesday of this week, we made the drive along the Mississippi River (on both the Wisconsin and Minnesota sides) to "look at the leaves" and enjoy the company of good friends.  We saw hundreds of migrating birds flying low on the Mississippi River (snatching fish from shallow water?), read the history of the Indian woman who threw herself off the bluffs at Maidenrock, Wisconsin (so named after the young woman), and bought a beautiful loaf of black pumpernickle bread at a bakery in Stockholm, Wisconsin.  While we had an enjoyable time, the fall colors were a bit of a disappointment. The trees were drab and even bare in many places, victims of the wind last week.  We were a day late and a dollar short as they say.  

I have to admit to probably being a bit less disappointed than our friends as I realized that I had already enjoyed the beauty of fall ... sitting on my own porch, taking in the beauty of our own back yard.  Capturing it on my camera means I am able to enjoy the colors and the serenity of that porch whenever I want to.  I don't have to wait for a beautiful day .. I don't have to drive 50+ miles from home .. I don't have to spend $3.59 a gallon on gas to go where the colors are!

I guess it's true what they say.  The best things in life are free .. and are often found in your own back yard.

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