Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Morning Walk

Mornings have crept in quietly since the rain of Saturday evening, sounds and colors subdued by the grey fog that rolls through the valley.
The cats are awake early--by 5--and are less than subtle in urging me to arise and acknowledge them.
The layout of the hallway and master bedroom [altered during our renovation] is ideal for cat games with its circular route down one side of the double hallway, through the bathroom, into the bedroom and back into the hall.  There is always opportunity to reverse the direction of the chase, skidding on scatter rugs, charging across the bed.
When the digital clock shows a bright red 6:00 A.M. I creak out of bed, feeling about for my slippers.  My progress down the 14 stairs is accompanied by thumps and bumps as furry bodies plummet down to mill about in the dimness of the kitchen.

It is still misty when I go out at 7. Sounds are muffled. The first tentative rays of the sun are striking the lower farmhouse while up the lane we are still shrouded in the remnants of night.

I pull on boots, a sweatshirt and vest, sling the strap of my camera case over my shoulder.
I have a 'snack pack' in my pocket to see me through to our usual late breakfast.
"I'm walking to the tobacco barn," I tell Jim as he heads out to his workshop.

I crunch along the lane, nibbling the almonds, dried cranberries and squares of cheddar from the snack pack.  
The dry goats are lying close together under the willows, the milking goats and the kids are still in the stable. The barn cats are not in sight.
On the road I meet our Amish neighbor and his son carrying an assortment of tools.
We exchange 'good morning' and I learn that they are headed to a neighbor's to finish construction of a hen house.

Morning glories have seeded along a portion of the fence that separates the tobacco barn from the big pond. These are not the wild convolvulus, with small white flowers, which tangles along ditches and hedgerows.  I suspect that one of my neighbors planted the originals years ago and the ripened seeds were carried to a new location--perhaps by birds, or even caught in the hay fed to the team of Halflingers who were at one time lodged in the barn.
Whatever their source, I find delight in viewing the clear pink blooms mounded on a fence post and trailing through the rough grass.

The night's dew was heavy, still beaded on grass and hedgerow plants.

Goldenrod leans over the fence.

Sunlight, strengthening by 8 o'clock, creates a fragile prism of color over the field of soybeans.

I said only that I was walking to the old barn. I find it nearly impossible to limit my walks to a designated route. 

Jim used the bush hog last week to mow a swath around the field and the path, sun-spackled, 
beckons me.

In the tree-shade which borders the creek tiny mushrooms are growing, encouraged by the damp.
Shaggy heads of Joe Pye weed lean into the path, the vibrant purple of ironweed is a shout of color in the green dimness. 

Water in the creek is still shallow, making for an easy crossing into the back field. The morning's sun has not yet touched the rows of soybeans planted close to the tree line. Green leaves and small brown pods are furred with dew.

A clump of blue flowers huddles against the outer row of soybeans. I ponder the identification: skullcap hyssop--or spike lobelia. 

Rounding the far corner of the soybean planting I note a feather lying in the rough grass.
It is so heavily saturated with dew as to resemble a grey leaf. In the next few steps I find several more, pinching them into a tiny wet bouquet to carry home. 
I am walking now into the sun, feeling its rising heat beat through my layered clothing.
A small pricker has worked itself past the folds of my jeans where they are tucked into my boots, and has lodged, irritatingly in my sock. 
I don't wear a watch, but guess that I've been gone for more than an hour. 
Jim will be wondering if I have keeled over with an unexpected heart attack [after a certain age anything can happen!] or if, more likely, I might have tripped on a fallen branch in my clumsy boots. causing me to limp slowly homeward.
Reluctantly I unzip my now too warm vest, stow my camera in its case, slog along the edge of the field till I reach the lower ford over the creek. I consider taking the track that leads up to the road, but turn to walk parallel to the creek, shaded by the overhanging maple and sycamore. 
The morning glories are still bright on the fence post, but I give them a passing nod and continue, past the barn, out onto the road and the turn into the lane.
The heat of the day is coming on strong, the grass has lost its silver sheen of dew.
Breakfast beckons.


  1. I enjoyed your morning ramble. You are my favorite nature writer. That first picture of your farmhouse is just beautiful! It should be entitled "serenity".


    1. Jane; What a lovely compliment! I search for words to share what I see.
      We live in the smaller farmhouse which is tucked at the narrow end of the lane, so I stand on my front porch and take zoom photos of the larger house, rented now to friends.

  2. Thanks for taking us along on your walk.

  3. What a lovely morning walk.

    Enjoy your coming fall weather.


    1. Rainey; We are still waiting for fall weather! Temps are predicted for 89F through the weekend. We are grateful for the cooler mornings.

  4. What a lovely description of your morning walk. I quite felt I was with you.

    1. Jennie; I imagine that if you had walked with me you could have supplied names for the plants that puzzled me.
      This is a good walk--level ground!

  5. Beautifully descriptive post, - I did enjoy accompanying you on your walk, and your recording is perfect. Lovely words...

    1. Hildred; Words are a wonder--sifting through the possibilities, I sometimes am tempted to let the photos speak for themselves.

  6. Love the pictures - my old eyes have trouble reading the text with these colors.

    1. Lillian; I made some color changes--hope it helps.

  7. Fall is in the air here in SW Vermont as well. This morning the temp was 42 and the fog was thick in the valley. Eventually the sun burned it off and we were left with a spectacular late September day. Our hummingbirds have left and the leaves are just beginning to suggest a change of color....Red Maples first, of course. The garden has seen better days. Dahlias, chelone and salvia continue to bloom but nearly everything else seems to have lost interest in itself. I just pulled the last tray of roasted tomatoes out of the oven and will pour them into freezer bags as soon as they cool. We are having our first fireplace fire of the 'year' tonight and it is might cozy.

  8. Mundi;We've had the misty mornings, but the heat of the day has remained stifling. Tomorrow [26 Sept] is meant to usher in cooler weather. We are so ready for it!
    Your words have conjured the scents and colors of a New England autumn--'swamp maples' burning scarlet, bright blue skies, the tattered gardens.
    We could use rain here, but are also hoping for a long and mild fall.

  9. Oh, what a beautiful walk. I felt like I walked with you :D
    Our mornings are getting colder and the cats are reluctant to get up at all, which is annoying as I have to leave them and go to work!

  10. Yarrow; It was a lovely walk and I must go again soon.
    Our cats have become very cuddly the past two nights as temperatures have dropped into fall.

  11. Beautiful post. I found you from my cousin John's blog--he's in England, I'm in West Virginia, and I found you n Kentucky. Small old world, isn't it?

  12. Granny Sue; Somehow that connection between you and John seems familiar. I know I've visited and enjoyed your blog from time to time. I think of you as the story crafter!

  13. Thank you for taking us on your early morning walk. It was very enjoyable. Signs of fall are settling round us here in the Ottawa valley, Canada too. Canada geese honking overhead, nippy mornings, leaves changing colours,various flowerings finished. Yes the season has changed.

  14. Jocelyn; I'm wondering if your seasons aren't very similar to what I recall from my native Vermont--being farther north, maybe autumn is more advanced [?]
    The sight of Canada geese in their V-shaped flight groups is one of the most special occurrences of fall.

  15. Jocelyn; I'm wondering if your seasons aren't very similar to what I recall from my native Vermont--being farther north, maybe autumn is more advanced [?]
    The sight of Canada geese in their V-shaped flight groups is one of the most special occurrences of fall.