Octobers Past…

We are having an unseasonably bright October—dim foggy mornings giving way to brilliant sunny and crisp afternoons!  I love it!  My out’s and about’s  this week have been unremarkable nevertheless, so I am obliged today to post some views from Octobers now past.  My apologies if you have already viewed these. They date back to October of 2008:

Ladybug and ‘Capetillar’ Daze

Have you ever seen ladybugs swarm? Neither had I till today. Must have been the radiant sunshine. Sarah was standing at the sliding glass door and noticed a ladybug and then two and three… and then all sorts of them bustling about on the door and the side of the house. Then we looked and the air was filled with the little winged fellows zipping about looking for a cozy place to hide for the winter.

This hibernation idea seems to be catching…The Bearded Woolly Bears (caterpillars mind you) are out in mass today too. I walked down the highway for a bit and saw dozens of the fuzzy crawlers in various states on the warm black asphalt. My guess is they are drawn to the warmth and then only too late discover this is NOT a safe place to curl up for the winter! Oh dear. (I redirected this one to the bushes. )

Apparently these caterpillars produce their own anti-freeze in order to weather the winter. Then in the Spring they get on to pursuing their destiny– becoming Isabella Tiger Moths!

Well I turned off the highway up an old logging road that now treads through a cleared landscape giving an awesome view out over Malaspina Strait. I found a dry spot to sit and take it in– just a tumble of abandoned logs with grass and ferns popping through and trailing blackberry clambering over….a spot to nestle in and feel the sun hot on my face and listen to the young alders do their song and dance and hear far off the gentle hush of a lonely stand of old firs, left to grandparent the next generation. And before I knew it I was curled up and in hibernation mode–recharging my batteries with the stillness and peace…


[The following post is also from 2008, but I am itching to head out this way again.  It is such an October day thing to do. Maybe tomorrow…]
Making Preserves

I took one look at the afternoon–bright sunshine, blue sky– and threw obligation to the wind. Today was a day for preserving. Now preserves are not a whole lot different then JAM, but the term is certainly more descriptive. To preserve something is “to prepare it, as by canning, for future use.” And I could see just looking out my window that this was a day to preserve for some future rainy afternoon when the memory of summer has long grown dim and the sun is just a hazy memory.

So how does one preserve a day? Fruit is preserved by picking at its peak, adding sugar and cooking a bit before tucking in a sparkling clean jam jar. But a sunny afternoon? Well, I suppose everyone has their own recipe. Here’s how I preserved today’s offering:

[“Calypso” with John Denver would be the perfect audio touch to this segment]

2:10 I left the house with dog and backpack. In the backpack was a gummy fruit snack– for energy, a notebook–for notes of course, and a book-book, along with a little N.T., and a little water bottle. For ready access I also attached a little ‘fanny pack’ for my wee homemade sketchbook and my brand-new camera (thanks Jim!!). A bear whistle and a cougar knife completed my kit. And off we went by mountain bike in pursuit of the most important ingredient in my recipe– uninterrupted stillness.
We headed North which is where the wilderness commences when the pavement runs out. Within minutes we are on a short leg of dirt road leading to the forest, and then an ancient logging road. Rutted, rocky and rooted it dwindles away into the dark woods that have grown up over the years since this area was logged. A steady uphill grind takes us to the trailhead where we ditch the bike to keep an old rotting log company.
On foot we head up the needle blanketed spongy trail. Louie loves a good trail and reminds me of Fred Flintstone trying to take off running. His paws send all that’s underfoot flying as he warms up for take off! Giant maple leaves brighten the path as we wend our way over interlaced roots gradually upward through the dark fir and cedar wood. Bright shafts of October sun glint through the trees at intervals. Bits of blue sky are hinted at.
We’re underway. Our preserve making has begun…

For today I have my camera along to snap pictures of interest but the real preservation of the day comes with just taking it all in with as many senses as possible, being present and undistracted. No music, no talking–except with God (and Louie where absolutely necessary). My destination is Little Sliammon Lake–now christened “Shangri-la” by a little wooden signpost. But the process of getting there is half the delight…the mushrooms (toadstools?) along the way…the mystery of never knowing what you will find today…

And what did we find to preserve?
Stillness, silence, the gentle hush of trees ever so gently swaying in the light breeze… Ravens calling, a hawk’s piercing cries, a squirrel’s excited trilling in the distance… and more silence, stillness.
Never mind the helicopter passing overhead, the dog rambling about in the underbrush, the buzzing of a fly, the exotic hornet that lands on my notebook and takes off again…

The sunshine is soft and warm. Drowsiness overtakes me. Nice to have a dog standing sentinel. I give in to a cat nap in the sun tucked up against an old tree trunk, while my senses absorb the day and preserve it in my soul for safe-keeping, “for future use” when supplies of such things have run low.

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

Thanks for joining me for the reminisce!


Going, going, g-o-n-e?


It’s that time of year…where there’s no certainty that summer won’t up and leave any given day.  There seem to be spiders everywhere spinning webs to catch the last prey of the season, basking in the sun’s gold rays as the days are already getting shorter…


P1070915 Creatures appear in the garden munching out their life cycles…

A round of wonderfully hot days (do you call 78 degrees hot?!) have now abruptly ended.  We too have tried to take our fill of them.  What better time to hike to a quiet gem of a lake for an afternoon in our own little Eden…


Times like these we wonder why we would ever want to live anyplace else…

P1070870 An old canoe sits by the dock for the use of hikers-by…


Lily pads and dragon flies are the only company to share the day…


And we make another idyllic memory to hold us steady when the sun is gone for good and the rains return… Is summer gone?  We shall see…


…and shall console ourselves in its return, someday…


“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” Gen.8:22


In Honor of Autumn

The sun visited today, perhaps in honor of the first day of autumn…

I struck out for a little hike with some reluctance in my bones. (I’ve gotten ‘creaky’ ever since the return of the rains—Jim says I may make a great barometer yet! Am I that old?!) Today, I drove over to the trailhead to save both Louie and I a few paces. (He’s getting old too.)


For old times’ sake we took the trail to Little Sliammon Lake. I was thinking as I trudged—it’s been 7 years since I discovered this trail. Back then it was a dark and eerie walk through old forest that blotted out the sun, inciting jumpiness—“What was that?!”.


Since the latest clear-cutting the trail seems brighter and shorter. It’s been re-routed to skirt the clear-cut so you walk along just inside the edge of the forest overlooking a hillside of giant matchsticks in jumbled piles strewn over a stark wasteland.

fireweed seed

Not too picturesque, but brighter! The bears will love it come spring when the sun spawns new growth of bush and berry. In the meantime this lull between summer’s blooms and autumn’s blazing displays is pretty drab. Even a thistle is welcome color…

thistle cropped

Ahhhh…today we have the lake all to ourselves


—rippled water dappled with cloud reflections and long silences broken only by raven call, the tremulous cry of a loon, and the whoosh of strong wings passing overhead. A dragonfly zips by on silent surveillance.

louie on dock

Restless with the stillness, Louie scrambles off to chase a squirrel. Its shrill alarm pierces the quiet. And so I sit on this rustic little dock a spell with no agenda (the camera battery has died with the lily pad shot)—listening to the silence and so commemorating the first day of fall.



Others have waxed poetic about this interim season. I’ll leave you to enjoy one of my favorites. Enjoy! –LS

“Storing September”

You ask me what I did today.
I could pretend and say,
“I don’t remember.”
But, no, I’ll tell you what I did today—
I stored September.
Sat in the sun and let the sun sink in,
Let all the warmth of it caress my skin.
When winter comes, my skin will still remember
The day I stored September.
And then my eyes—
I filled them with the deepest, bluest skies
And all the traceries of wasps and butterflies.
When winter comes, my eyes will still remember
The day they stored September.
And there was cricket song to fill my ears!
And the taste of grapes
And the deep purple of them!
And asters, like small clumps of sky…
You know how much I love them.
That’s what I did today
And I know why.
Just simply for the love of it,
I stored September.

–Elizabeth B. Rooney
Sample others by this author at: