How long does a vacation have to be?
For Bernie and me, even a four hour get-away can be a perfect vacation jewel.
Scenes like this one does wonders for my mental and physical restoration.
Last Saturday, after a (currently rare) full week at home, Bernie and I jumped in our car and drove about 45 minutes away to this lovely state park.
We had the entire park to ourselves.
Even the ranger station booth was unattended.
The afternoon air was warm and still.
I walked along the shoreline in the slanting autumn light, enjoying the red glow created by the low sunlight on spearing withering grasses.
He knew it was unlikely that any fish would be caught; by November the fish are almost done feeding and are hunkered in deep for the upcoming winter season.
The exercise and practice of casting a line in such a sublime setting is its own reward.
The fish could slumber undisturbed.
As he moved between the running waters I explored the nearby meadows.
Monochromatic scenes, the browns of November, offer a patchwork of unique beauty.
There was a time when I would have entered the fields and harvested a handful of grasses and pods to create a dried grasses arrangement for my home.
This time I just harvested the grasses with my mind and camera.
The pictures will be added to my autumn digital photo frame slide show and will flash up randomly again to stir up the day's pleasant memories.
It is (mostly) easier to stay on the wooden pathways.
A fallen tree...it must have fallen fairly recently since the rangers are careful to keep the pathways cleared.
Shattered bark, now fallen away, reveals cryptic messages scrawled by hidden insects.
I wonder if my camera will capture the gilded edges of the grasses.
Each blade sparkles as it shivers.
Spent flowers appear gilded in silver and gold.
A trio of thin ladies with feathery hats observe me as I kneel to capture their pose?
Flower fairies always wear hats!
I squint at one tree.
The willowy branches sport q-tip sized cottony buds.
Has our snow/warmth/snow/warmth October weather pattern fooled them into believing spring is near?
Passing an open field I see that we are not alone.
White rumped mule deer have come out to feed with their young.
The rump, tail tip and ear tip whites glow against the shadowy thickets.
The waning Hunter moon above us may warn the deer to be wary.
They eye me repeatedly as they feed, then slip away from view silently.
Looking skyward, I scan tree tops for nests.
Feather trim and mossy bits still festoon the abandoned avian home.
It still looks cozy to me...
In a neighboring tree a different kind of bird once busily wove this nest.
Sling like, it hangs beneath the branches, unlike its neighbor's architecture, which sat firmly above within a branch joining.
I feel a jolt of a happiness whenever I spy a bird's nest, a thrill akin to finding a coin on the pavement or a first flower in bloom.
The sun lowered and as it sank the temperatures fell.
I pushed my hands into my pockets and headed back to our car.
The birds were heading home.
Bernie returned to our car moments later, commenting that it was indeed getting colder.
The seat warmer would feel good in our car.
(I laughed when he pulled off his waders and realized he had donned them over thermal silks.
Apparently he got ready to go fishing so fast he forgot to toss in a pair of regular pants too.
We won't be stopping at our favorite local restaurant for dinner this time!)
How fast the sky colors in autumn!
Car headlights form lighted strings around us as we head home.
Our short fulfilling holiday ended at home, with us sitting before the fire, cozy, reading books and being very glad for the hours when we can be together.