Nature’s Artwork

I am imperfect. Everyone is. Yet every day I see commercials advertising beauty products and fitness programs to help men and women achieve perfection. Chasing dreams is one thing, striving for the impossible is ridiculous.

I have a great appreciation for nature. Nature is beautiful without even trying. The blazing sunrise, the changing leaves, the churning clouds, the glow of sunset. Beautiful without trying to be perfect. Nature just is what it is and if you don’t stop to see that, you’re missing out.

This past Monday morning started out beautiful with a pink cast to the clouds as the sun made its journey to rise over the hills. The sun shone ever so briefly before the dark clouds of the rapidly approaching cold front blocked it out. That contrast of darkness and light was stunning to behold. Nature wasn’t trying to impress me by puffing up its chest or slathering on makeup for a perfect complexion. Nature was just doing what it does.

I managed to take Jazzmin on a short walk as the front blew in and dropped the mild morning temperatures down 10 degrees. We walked into a field and to the top of the hill to get a better view of the dark clouds. I snapped a picture of Jazz with the turbulent sky as the backdrop and to my amazement, my camera phone captured the colors perfectly.

Jazzmin and the sky

Jazzmin and the sky

Later that evening after the rain had come and gone, I went out into the yard with my daughters to enjoy the last of the day. While we were outside I saw a monarch fly by and was surprised when he landed in one of my back pine trees. I’ve never seen a monarch do that before. He stayed on one branch for a long time and Jordan was nice enough to fetch my camera for me. I took several pictures of him and he stayed still until the very last one when I turned the flash on. He opened his wings just as the picture snapped and then flew higher into the tree and out of sight.

Monarch up in my pine tree

Monarch up in my pine tree

As I write this the sky is ablaze with orange, red, pink and blue. Another breathtaking autumn sunset in what has been a true season to treasure. There is just a sliver of the moon in the sky and brush strokes of clouds. Nothing compares to nature’s artwork and she always pulls it off effortlessly.

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The Little Details

The sun was lacking again today so I’m hoping it decides to come out tomorrow. While it was gray almost all day the rain stopped by afternoon. I did a lot of freelance writing today and around 4:30 p.m. decided it was time to take Jazzmin for a walk.

As we walked I was scanning the road for woolly bear caterpillars but I didn’t see a single one. I suppose it was too cold and dreary for them to be out today. There were a variety of nuts squished into the road from car tires. Black walnuts, acorns and other nuts I don’t know were all mushed into pavement butter.

Amid all the nut guts and fallen leaves a familiar shape caught my eye. It was a red eft, the smallest one I’ve ever seen. He was blending in with the stained pavement and staying very still as he thought I was a predator. I wasn’t, but the car I could hear coming around the bend was, so I swiftly picked him up and enclosed him in my hand to carry him to safety. He must have liked the warmth of my hand because he was crawling around inside it until I placed him gently down in the grass.

A short distance down the road I saw another red eft of the same exact size. I was purposely looking for these little details now and I was pleased when I saw him. I carried him to safety as Jazzmin patiently tolerated her mama’s endless critter rescue efforts. I saved one more on the walk back home and it made the whole walk in the dreary weather totally worth it. I’d managed to get some good exercise and make a tiny difference in the world again.

Falling Too Fast

Autumn is my favorite season but it comes and goes far too fast! One day the leaves are all green, the next day they’re changing and the day after that they start falling. It’s pretty to watch the leaves fall but I do wish they could stick themselves back up on the branches rather than letting the tree go bare. I don’t like the stark, leafless trees of winter.

I’ve been trying to enjoy this season as much as possible. When I have my girls we play outside. Jaycie swings or plays her favorite new game that involves throwing our smaller hula hoop up into the tree. She’s only gotten it stuck once so far. Jordan and I spread out my big burgundy, white and green comforter and lay on it in the sun. I hook Jazz up to her lead by the tree and she sniffs around at the various squirrel trails. Jordan eventually wanders off in search of small sticks and leaves to make a mini-kite a mouse might use and I usually flip through Northshore Magazine and House Beautiful trying to spark writing ideas.

When I don’t have the girls I have to catch up on my freelance writing. The most time I spend outdoors is walking Jazz or mowing the lawn. Now and then I’ll take a break and walk around my yard but mostly I’m inside with the windows open wishing I had more time to be out in the fall air. I still get to enjoy the weather and seasons more than I ever did working an office job so it’s really not all bad.

Today wasn’t the nicest of fall days. It rained off and on and was mostly cloudy with tons of humidity. I managed to squeeze a walk in with Jazz this afternoon and we only got sprinkled on a little bit. Looking down the road I was amazed to see how much color there was and how many leaves had already fallen. I rather wish the season would slow down a bit because I’m not looking forward to winter and the onset of cabin fever. I only saw one woolly bear caterpillar but I happily saved him. He was a brave one and crawled along my hand before I set him gently in the grass on the other side of the road.

The days are growing shorter but thankfully the weather has been extremely nice lately. Not hot enough to need to run the air conditioning and not cold enough to need the furnace. I always appreciate lower utility bills! It’s a bit too cool to leave the windows open at night but the fresh air from the day lingers inside even after I close them. I’m going to take it all in for as long as I can because autumn, as always, is falling too fast.