Sunday, October 13, 2013

Thankful For Autumn

The season of Autumn may last three months on the calendar, but in reality it's true duration is much shorter - especially here on the Canadian prairies.

Our first frost may come in late August and there is often snow on the ground before Halloween. The frost and the inevitable advent of snow make the season all too short.

So with that in mind. we should appreciate and partake in as many of the traditions of Autumn as we can while we are able.

Autumn isn't just harvesting crops, cleaning up the garden, raking the leaves and stocking the pantry for winter.

It is also about the tastes, the scents and the beauty of the fleeting season.

The seemingly endless possibilities for preparing and serving squash, pumpkins and apples. The sumptuous tastes of fresh tomatoes. Fresh potatoes, carrots and onions just waiting to add flavour to so many recipes!

Fragrant aromas and flavours emerging from kitchens as breads and baked goods come out of hot ovens!

The cool crisp air, accentuated by a wood burning fire - if not from your own home, then hopefully the scent of a neighbours wood fireplace wafting nearby!

Even shorter, is the beauty of the fall colours!

Some of our leaves were starting to turn in early September. By late September, the changing colours of the leaves was switching into high gear.

I wanted to go for at least one long fall walk in my tree lined neighbourhood and a nearby park!

There were a few days that I had other commitments and couldn't go for more than a short walk. The weather wasn't exactly cooperating for a picture taking walk either. It seemed to be cloudy, windy or both most of the week. Then there was the day of rain on Saturday (Sept 28). I thought about going on the Sunday, but after all of the rain and fallen leaves, I was concerned that the ground may be slippery in places and I really didn't want to take a fall in the fall. (or anytime for that matter!)

So, I waited till Monday morning (Sept 30). A few clouds to start, but skies were clearing. The sun was shining, temp was about 16C and the wind was light. The battery in the camera was charged and I was heading out the door a little before 10AM. I headed towards a nearby park on Wellington Crescent - taking pics along the way.

There is something about Munson Park that just draws me in - especially in the fall.

Munson Park is a long narrow strip of land that runs east/west between Wellington Crescent to the south and the Assiniboine River to the north. The park was named after J H Munson, a lawyer, who was the first to build a home on that strip of land.
Wellington can be quite busy and noisy, but the many trees and bushes along the street side of the park help to reduce the sound greatly. Yes, you can still hear some traffic sounds - especially the buses and any horns or sirens - but for the most part, I am able to block them from my senses and imagine that I am walking in a country wood. I try to focus on the natural sounds. The leaves fluttering in the breeze. The water lapping the shore. The birds singing - and yes, the sounds of the Canada Geese as they make their long journey south.

It isn't a large park as far as parks go. And it isn't as manicured or landscaped as many of our city parks. That may well be a large part of what draws me there - especially in autumn. As beautiful and picturesque as the stately homes in the area can be, the beauty within the park is more reminiscent of a walk in the country or through wooded grounds of a rustic estate.

Various packed dirt paths meander along the riverbank and occasionally veer off to meet the paved paths nearer to the Crescent.

The paved paths are okay, but my favourite ones are the packed dirt trails near the river. They are slightly uneven, but if I - as a legally blind gal with no depth perception - can navigate them, then most other people can as well. Admittedly, I haven't tried to do it in the winter or when they are wet and slippery, but in decent weather they are pretty easy to navigate! The dirt paths are also more likely to be semi covered with fallen leaves so you really get to hear that "crunch" under your feet as you walk!

I walk slowly through the park, surveying my surroundings. Admiring the beauty of the colourful foliage. I stop frequently to take pictures from various angles - trying to frame the vast contrasts in colours of the trees, shrubs, bushes, plants and grasses.

I allow myself to get lost in its' beauty, its' sounds and the scent of fall. I breath in the autumn air. My surroundings draw me into its embrace and takes me back to the days growing up on the farm or going for walks in the woods at my favourite camp of youth. Sweet memories from the past merge with the present as I roam the park.

A temporary escape from the hustle of a hurried city.

I took many photos in my 2 1/4 hour walk. Most were taken in duplicate but that way I am assured of getting the shot I wanted. I was so glad that I went when I did, because the next day (Tuesday, October 1), we had incredibly strong winds that blew a great many leaves off the trees.

Thankfully, I have my memories and my pictures of a September Morning.
I returned to the park this past Wednesday morning (Oct 9). Many more leaves had changed colours and fallen but there was still so much beauty to behold! I just had to put another slideshow/montage together to showcase the Beauty Of Autumn!
Alas, the weather is changing with cooler weather, strong winds and rain.

Mother Nature's colourful landscape is quickly fading from our outdoor surroundings now as only the heartiest of leaves remain aloft. If we are lucky, we have taken a few moments to commit the scenic views to our cameras - or at least to our memory.

Yes, the external beauty may be all but gone, but there is still much to be thankful for as we savour the scents, aromas and flavours of all this short but bountiful season has to offer.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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