Tag Archives: Leaves

Eyes on Fall

I feel a bit like a little kid; there’s a new season called fall and I’m playing in it all over again. (Some of you know this season as autumn rather than fall, and my favourite dictionary provides a lovely explanation as to why this might be.)

At the end of October, my Toronto family and I went for a beautiful walk an hour or so north. There was so much that reminded me of growing up and playing on the nature trails not too far from our neighbourhood. We used to climb all of the fallen logs and run through piles of leaves.

Regardless of the word you use to describe this time of year, this is the season of falling leaves and the crunch they make underfoot, of apples picked from trees and pumpkins from vines. The texture of the air changes, daylight grows shorter, shadows grow longer. Food gets warmer, coats thicker, and lush green gives way to all shades of red, orange, yellow, and finally brown before the leaves are gone entirely.

In Montreal at the beginning of November, further north and further into the season, the leaves were different yet again. Montreal is a city of bright skies and the colours made me smile at a time when smiling was difficult.

I took a walk through the park near my apartment in Weimar shortly after returning from Canada. The steel-grey sky and occasional drizzle reminded me why this time of year, just too early to start thinking about the holidays, is sometimes overlooked. But the calm and quiet of the path minimized distraction and held opportunities to experience beautiful things.

Here in Weimar, now definitively in the middle of November, we have had some very cold nights. And days, for that matter, but it’s dark at night here, very dark, and I’ve been spending time outside remembering what cold feels like. Damp cold that gets into the bones, crisp cold that leaves fingers, toes, and noses tingling, and then a brief respite from temperatures just above freezing that seem balmy by comparison. There is majesty in clear skies and sharp, brisk nights and seeing so many stars.

It’ll get colder, everyone says. Get ready.

I’m not.

But in the dark and the cold, surrounded by naturechanges and beneath stars, my body, mind, and heart are very much awake.

“Lift your gaze and linger.”
Weimar, Germany – November 2021

To the treetops! – Part II

Singapore is a city-state with a population of about 5.6 million people. It’s all of 719.1 square kilometers (277.6 square miles) with plenty of parks. We’re not the “Garden City” for nothing!) and that’s one of the reasons I love it here.

However, much of the time, Singapore is just a city with the noise, congestion, and crowds that characterize cities everywhere. If for no other reason than a change of scenery, it’s important to take a break from the city every now and then and enjoy time in nature where you can’t always hear the cars and see the skyscrapers.

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I’ve done the TreeTop Walk in MacRitichie Reservoir before and it was fun to return with my real camera this time!

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As usual, there were plenty of monkeys out and about at MacRitchie. Monkeys have an undeserved reputation for being cute and cuddly. Outside of storybooks, they’re pests and they’re hard to photograph because they move so quickly (and sometimes throw things or try to bite).

I also enjoyed seeing different colors, especially living somewhere without seasons. I love all the seasons and I miss them here. Time doesn’t pass as quickly and it’s hard to remember what you did when because activities and clothing don’t change. The landscape doesn’t change, either, but there are bits of diversity if you look hard enough.

Planning to visit? Take water (I did), remember bug spray (I did not), and bring a camera (if that’s your thing). Definitely go early in the day before it gets too hot. We were done around 11:45am and did not at all envy the people just getting started.

Take a walk. Take a break. You’ll be glad you did.

Happy trails!

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Up in the Adirondacks

I’ve always wanted to raise a family near wherever my parents are living because I grew up far away from my grandparents. My mum’s parents live in Montreal, QC where I was born and my dad’s parents have moved from Montreal to Toronto, ON where most of my cousins live. Seeing my grandparents was always a scheduled event involving a car trip, overnight bags, passports, and green cards (which we forgot once). I was always envious of friends whose grandparents picked them up from school and friends who saw their grandparents whenever anyone wanted. Spending time with grandparents has really always been something that I’ve treasured, which was exactly the case during our week in the Adirondack Mountains in good ole upstate New York.

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Our dog, Puck, posing for a photo on the dock

In order to bring all of us together, though we missed my brother who couldn’t take off work, my parents rented a cabin on the lake just outside the adorable little town of Old Forge, NY. We went into town for ice cream, Mum’s daily latte, and to visit Old Forge Hardware, which sells everything and is a delight to explore.We didn’t have cell service and wifi only worked in certain corners of the cabin, so I read a lot and was very happy to disconnect for a while.

In true holiday fashion, we quite enjoyed our view of the world from the cabin porch:

We had a pontoon boat and a kayak to play with and were out on the water every day. My dad and grandfathers went out fishing a few times and I went with them for the sake of the scenery. In six days, the three men managed to catch two fish. That, according to my dad, is why they call it fishing and not catching.

I love being out on the water.

I also love hiking! One morning, my parents and I hiked Black Bear Mountain and we decided to bring Puck along just to see how he would do. Turns out, the dog is part mountain goat and it’s a good thing, too, because the trail was fairly steep and very muddy.

The view from the summit was beautiful, too:

Later in the week, my dad and I hiked Bald Mountain, so named because it’s very rocky (as opposed to leafy, I guess). It’s a much shorter hike and therefore was also more crowded. I’ve never spent time in the Jurassic Age, but I think it looked like Bald Mountain.

We climbed this tower at the summit . . .

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. . . from which my dad pointed out all of the seven lakes that make up the central region of the Adirondacks:

And of course, because that’s what you do up in the mountains when it gets cold after sundown, we made a fire every night. My trusty Syracuse University sweatshirt reeked of smoke (and so did my hair) but I had packed it just for that reason. I’m a bit of a pyromaniac when I’m allowed to be; I love watching the flames dance and hearing the crackle of the wood and the whistling of the fire. Had some good fun with my zoom lens, too:

In sum, that was the week. Time outside to hike in the mountains, boat and kayak in the lake, and run along the trails. Quiet time to read. Singing, telling stories, and laughing over the fire. Being together with family. Very relaxing and very simple. Can’t ask for more than that.