Posted in Freedom Friday, Photo Opportunities

My Walks

If you haven’t figured it out, I write about a lot of stuff. Food. Travel. Photography. You know, the basic things that make life interesting. One topic I’ve mentioned in passing but never really delved in deeply is my affinity to taking walks. Those who know me know I’m out and about more often than not in the middle of the woods. Early to late fall is also one of my favorite seasons. Therefore, it goes without saying, I’m in my element during this time of year. And what better way to introduce my walking journeys than to write about them for Freedom Friday?

The long and winding path.
The long and winding path.

Someone asked me how I keep so trim. I would use the word emaciated but that’s just me. Thin is another polite word for saying I look all skin and bones. I don’t mind when folks call me skinny, after all, I am my mother’s son and she’s not on the meaty side either. So, it’s not really something I don’t know. Anyway, I answer whoever’s asking that I’m a walker. I walk everywhere. Even having a car, I still will walk half-an-hour to Main Street on a regular basis. I enjoy the coffee shops there. They’re cozy little establishments where you can grab a warm cup of pleasure. In the wintertime, I enjoy sitting in front of the window looking out to the traffic as folks slush their way through the snow.

I love this area.
I love this area.

Walking also provides me a time when I can think. So many wonderful ideas come from those one-hour sessions. I can’t say why certain thoughts come to mind whenever I’m outside stretching my legs. They just do. I go with it and see where they take me. On the opposite end of the spectrum, when I do take long walks, I tend to resolve quite a few problems that way. If something’s on my mind, by the time I get home it will have disappeared.

Another side effect of a good walk is crossing paths with the animal kingdom. I’ve mentioned this before in my Autumn Photography post. Have I told you my biggest fear? Well, I’ve met with raccoons, rabbits, foxes, wild dogs, black cats, ducks, and geese. That’s it. I think. Wait a minute, did I mention coyotes? I haven’t met a coyote yet, and I’m not planning to either. But my biggest fear is skunks. Thankfully, I’ve seen them, but never startled them enough to race down the street like an idiot. I wouldn’t know what to do if one sprayed me. I suppose that would be the basis for a bad day.

The stream by my house.
The stream by my house.

I’ve also encountered my share of incidents during my constitutionals. One in particular strikes my memory. It involved a car and an immovable object. I was walking home, listening to music, when right behind me on the opposite side of the street, a car veered off the road, bounced on the sidewalk, tracked through a couple of front lawns, took out a porch, a veranda and finally came to a stop with its front-right side embedded in a house. Yes, a house. Oh, everyone walked out of there alive. Yet, the whole scene shook me. To this day, I can still remember how it all happened.

I always wonder what my life would be like had that car veered in a different direction.

Nonetheless, I still walk everywhere. And I’ll probably keep walking until the end of my days. It’s what makes me who I am. It’s what keeps me alive.

[Author’s Note: I wrote this a month ago yet only now did I get a chance to post it. Hence the fall shots.]

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, now on sale.

Do you take walks? What comes from the exercise?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Photo Opportunities

Autumn Photography

Every autumn I go on safari. Not really. I treat it as a safari, though. I pack my camera in my satchel, slip on a warm jacket, and head for the woods. What am I hunting, you may ask? Trees, leaves, nature—anything really to depict this glorious season we call fall. And that’s my Freedom Friday introduction to fall photo gathering.

A path to the foot of the woods
A path to the foot of the woods

The adventure typically begins at the foot of the woods a couple of minutes from my home. You see, I live in farm country, near where all the folks from Toronto get their corn, strawberries, and other assorted goods. How close do I live to the woods? I’ve seen foxes chase rabbits from the brush across the street into the neighbor’s backyard at 5:30 in the morning. This happened ten feet from my walk. I’ve seen multiple raccoons frenzying on garbage cans as if bitten by zombies. And I’ve smelled. Yes, smelled—skunks near where I trod. I’ve seen them, too. Tail sticking up. Those are the animals I fear most spilling from the woods. Oh, did I mention the coyotes? We have them, and they’re the dreadful parasites of our town’s existence.

As I was saying, the adventure begins at the foot of the woods. During this time of year when the forests give up their leaves, I’m there capturing it all. I suppose it has to do with the color the season exhibits. Boy, can anyone deny autumn is colorful? I think not. And here I am, in the middle of the woods, the threat of coyotes at every turn, snapping photos of anything that may inspire me to share with others.

Beautiful morning majesty
Beautiful morning majesty
The woods
The woods
Leaves that have yet to change color
Leaves that have yet to change color

The time I get the absolute best photos is either early in the morning, as the sun makes its appearance in the horizon or in the evening just when the light turns all sorts of golden hues along the edge of the tree line. I’ve taken shots in the middle of the woods just as dusk approached. Reminiscent of Dorothy’s travels through The Wizard of Oz’s Dark Forest, the day fades, the wind howls, and it does get creepy. But it doesn’t stop teenagers hitting the woods at night to have their secret rendezvous. On occasion, I’ve come across the remnant of empty bottles near a felled tree, a spot I suppose popular with the young crowd.

The log where teens hang out
The log where teens hang out
I think I know where I'm going
I think I know where I’m going
Enjoying the crunching leaves
Enjoying the crunching leaves
Inside the woods
Inside the woods

The woods have paths I can walk yet there are times the leaves cover the paths making it difficult to find my way back. I’ve gotten lost several times only to find my way back after having remembered what the trees looked like from mental notes of my journey. Believe me when I say it’s not fun not knowing where you are in the grand scheme of things.

I have to say this: whenever I’m out there with my camera taking those eye-popping photos of the foliage, sometimes my breath catches. It’s as if I’m seeing things for the very first time, enjoying every moment. The colors are vivid and beautiful, the air crisp, and the area is so much at peace without human interference. I’m glad I have the woods as my fortress of solitude. Everyone needs a place of refuge. The woods are mine.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, now on sale.

Do you take photos of the foliage every year? Do you have a fortress of solitude?