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A Morning Walk

Morning Walk 005I set out from the house yesterday morning, my eyes still blurry from sleep. I rounded the deck and headed down the driveway towards the road, going on my nearly daily walk. The early morning is a wonderful time to go for a walk. It is very peaceful; most of the world is just waking up. It seems so quiet, the stillness is a welcome gift, a little solitude before spending the day with the bustle of everyone and everything going about their (its) business. The quiet is only broken by a few birds chirping “good morning” to one another and to me. A handful of grasshoppers hum, not yet in full song. The best time for a walk is when the sun is rising, a rainbow of color piercing through the trees. I delight in these morning walks before the world starts its day, it’s more than just exercise, rather time for receiving refreshment from the beauty of nature around me, and of reflection and prayer.

Morning Walk 006Yesterday morning, I was walking in and out of clouds, there was some patchy fog making the landscape more beautiful and mystical. Wispy spider webs glistened with dew in the early morning sunlight. Trees were blazing gold, almost glowing. The grass was inundated with dew, almost dripping as if it had rained; it wet my feet as I walked. The dew sparkled like beads of glass on blades of grass, the sun shining through each droplet. The morning was still, not a breath of wind stirred the trees. Birds, whom I couldn’t see or name, sang a morning song, but with reverence rather than springtime excitement.
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I walked down the hill enjoying all that I saw. A cloud had settled in the valley between the two hills of our farm. Once in the valley, I reached for some willow leaves overhanging the side of the road, but I wasn’t quite tall enough. The fog nearly concealed the neighbors’ fields from this vantage point. Thankfully, the neighbor dogs weren’t out yet to disturb my tranquility. Soon I ambled up a small hill. There is a canopy of tree limbs hanging over the road, creating a temple archway. I marveled at the beautiful arches as I walked under them, looking up at each tree as I passed, it seemed so extravagant with six species of trees. Once through the archway, a small cliff, a steep, bare spot of the hill without grass, replaces the wall of trees, though there are trees on top of it and at the bottom, with a brave tree here and there on its face. This bare rock, sandstone, has always intrigued me. Every time I pass, there is a strong urge to climb it, as of yet I still haven’t done so; though many times I have walked to the top of it from the other side to look out over the road and fields. It creates a bend in the road; around it, the road begins going downhill yet again.

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I paused before I made the descent, to take in the beauty of the fields smothered in fog; it deceives, appearing that there is a lake of considerable size surrounding an island just beyond our fields. The rising sun paints the clouds a pretty yellowish-orange. Little rays of sun seem to pierce the clouds, trying perhaps to clear them away. The whole effect was extremely stunning; breathtaking, spectacular beauty. Yellow blossoms filled the road sides, their color coming alive in the morning light with just the perfect angle from the sun. Prairie coneflower, black-eyed Susan, ox eye, and sun flowers. Solider beetles trotted along blossom petals of goldenrod.

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Once down the hill, the barley field seems less breathtaking; bales dot the field, a few broken ones here and there. The field seemed to have lost its glory when it was cut and combined. Now with a few rain storms on the remaining straw, it’s a sorry sight. Hopefully, soon this field will be transformed into a lush hay field, regaining some former glory and splendor. The hay field on the other side of the road was still mostly hidden by the fog.

Morning Walk 019Up another hill, my attention shifts to the corn field, though not as lovely as a hay field or barley field, from this distance and light, the geometric designs of the stalks, leaves, and tassels made an interesting pattern. However, the corn field did not keep me captivated. The flowers and sumac in the ditch was of far more interest. Some of the red clover died; the blossom now brown, creating an interesting contrast to the few purple blooming flowers. Around one more bend, a little further to take a look at the pearly trees. Past a cedar tree, at which point I turned around for the return. Suddenly, I heard a loud whir, crash through trees and loud flap of large wings. It sounded like a very large bird fell from the tree or very clumsily took flight out of a tree. I heard the noise a couple more times. I caught a glimpse of one bird. It was large, with a long neck and wide body. I discovered later they were turkeys.

Morning Walk 030Though I have been walking along the same route each time since early April, down along the gravel road that runs pass our farm, every walk is different, and I never know what I will see or discover along the way. I have observed the change in seasons in the same trees and foliage in the ditch. I have seen trees bud, leaf out, flower, and drop seed each a special and awe inspiring phenomena. Flowers budded, bloomed, dried and browned, giving way to a new flower in bloom. Turkeys were calling and dancing in the fields, now crows fly over squawking. Red winged black birds are now mostly silent and invisible, other birds have filled the air with their song, most of the time I only hear them without seeing them. Of course, the fields have changed as well. And perhaps, in a small way, I have changed as well. I see things that before I wouldn’t have noticed and I have learned more as I seek to understand what I see and hear. Perchance with the observing of the shifting landscape, I have grown more deeply connected with it as I have gained a deeper understanding for it.

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