Monday, November 16, 2009


Last Sunday’s blessing was a trip to Montezuma Wildlife Refuge with Paul. Life’s been busy with frequent evening meetings and weekends filled with yard work and volunteer activities. It had been a while since we’d done anything relaxing, and even longer since we’d been outdoors. The rainy summer precluded many canoe trips. This November day could have been plucked out of September – it was shirt sleeve weather – we quickly shed our fleece jackets and enjoyed the warmth of the afternoon sun. The sky was that blue that is unique to fall, and only a few leaves still clung to bare tree branches, opening up the views.

As we slowly made our way along the driving route, looking at the ducks and geese, I remembered how bored I was as a kid by that same drive. My family took frequent Sunday afternoon drives, and in an act of self-preservation, I usually had my “nose stuck in a book,” to quote my father. This time, though I still had a book open in my lap, I also had my binoculars handy, and once said, “stop the car, I want to get a picture.” So Paul dutifully pulled over while I snapped a picture or two of milkweed pods, bursting with cottony seeds.  We recalled the time I wanted to make  milkweed pod angels, and stripped the seeds, only to have them stick to the wet bumper of the car parked beneath the porch, prompting Paul's grandmother to say, "Did you hit a bird?"  Or the time I hung some to dry out upside down from the basement clothesline, only to open the door to floating fuzz and seeds which I had to pick out of the air for the ensung days.

We parked and walked a mowed path over to the river and back. I saw deer tracks in the muddy ground, and we wondered about the identity of a yellow berry. The grasses were taller than Paul – something you don’t realize when you just drive along the highways.

There’s something about the outdoors that spreads a wave of relaxation over me. I don’t realize until I’m outside how much I miss it day to day. We stopped by the Montezuma Winery and bought a couple bottles of Cranberry Bog wine, then headed back to Auburn for a burger and curly fries at Parker’s Grille. An altogether nice afternoon. This will hold me until the first snowfall deep enough for cross county skiing.

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