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Darker Days (afternoons anyway…)

Halloween has come and gone for another year. My kids/grandkids were not able to make it down from Maine – the first Halloween party they’ve ever missed. It was sad but I totally understand, they have a LOT going on right now with the new house and just couldn’t be aways for that long. Plus, 10-12 hours of driving for a 3- or 4-hour party is silly. I decorated the entire yard; expanded on some areas, relocated some stuff to other areas, and basically just tried to make it different from last year’s set up.

One of my issues is that my party decorations have grown with my grandkids. The party began when my eldest was still quite young – decorations were few, simple, and geared towards a toddler. But as he grew, and others came along and grew as well, so did the amount of decorations – and the scariness of them. The eldest is 14-yo now, followed by a 12-yo, so the overall theme of the party is pretty much geared towards that age group. I always make the front yard less scary for the young kids, but it gets scarier as you go into the woods in the back.

But this year, without my grandkids from Maine, or their like-aged cousins from Maine, I had a 13-yo nephew with a friend, but then the next oldest was 8yo, followed by a lot of 2 to 6-yo’s. It was an effort to make it scary but also to at least try to tone it down for the young kids. I guess it worked as everyone said they had a great time. In my mind, this was not my best party. The weather was great and I was pretty happy with the decorations and setup, but I felt like I had not done my best job at keeping them entertained and scared and so forth. Just have to try harder next year….None the less – it was great fun!

I finally got out for a hike yesterday; I have not been out on trail for over three weeks and only twice for the month of October. Two hikes is, of course, far from what I had hoped or planned for, but time and weather conspired against me! None the less, I started off November the right way: 12.2-miles. And I managed to complete the hike in about 4-hours flat, which equates to under 20-minutes per mile, a goal I always strive for but rarely hit. Often the reason for not hitting the mark is due to my stopping to go look at something, to take pictures, and the like – lollygagging!

It was a brisk start – mid 30’s – but it warmed up nicely; sweatshirt was off and I was sweating by the end. As I was hiking, leaves were streaming down from above – bursts of them, then a few, then nothing shortly followed with a single leaf here or there. Random in timing and quantity, it was a wonderful ballet of nature.

But it got me to thinking as I walked along; leaves are such an imitation of life. They are born, they live in family, in community, and they serve their purpose. Some are lost young and earl, just as with us, due to unforeseen tragedies. And they all shine in their own unique way as they age, resplendent with colors. And then they die and surrender themselves to the earth.

Much like any of us, they have no idea when, exactly, their grip on the tree branch, on life, will be released, I stood and watched as one leaf after another lost their grip and floated down to the forest floor, trying to guess which leaf was next, never successful.

And I wondered; they surely noticed their neighbors, their friends, their family, growing old and disappearing and they must surely wonder, “when will be my time to suddenly lose my grip and fall away? Is that why they tremble when the winds blow?

I am hoping to get back out for another hike tomorrow; weather should be nice for it with a high in the low 60’s. I am currently at 317 miles on trail for 2023 and I hope to hit 400 before the year is done. I am quite pleased with this year’s results: I broke the 20-mile barrier (once so far) and had a couple of hikes with a sub-20-minute per mile pace for the entire hike. We do not have much elevation here but so far I have 22,300’ of elevation gain this year.

Tonight is the dreaded clock change: “fall back”. Of course, that means early sunsets; it’ll be dark by 5PM soon. I personally don’t have an issue with it; I like the long summer nights where it doesn’t get dark until 9PM and I also like settling in with a fire in the winter’s dark at 5PM. Variety is the spice of life and changing the clocks certainly adds to that!

Quick update before posting – got out for 13.3 miles yesterday. Stay safe dear reader!

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Otylia

    I love hiking, but now I have to stay in home with my child so I read about hiking. You gave me a lot of good feelings. All the best

    1. Bob Wolff

      Thank you! I will try to write more about hiking for you!!

  2. Traci Love

    You’re very intelligent and you understand this topic well.

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