Monthly Photo Challenge: North Chagrin Reservation — November

It is hard to believe that we have reached the penultimate month of this wonderful photo challenge. November reveals stark changes from the lush, vibrant summer and early fall posts. Trees are denuded of their foliage, verdant colors have transitioned to golds and browns, and the wild life is sparse as birds fly south and mammals start preparing for their winter hibernation. Yet, beauty still abounds. I hope you enjoy this month’s entry in the challenge. I hope, too, that you get a sense of the magic of this place. Enjoy.

The Changing Seasons is a Monthly Photo Challenge started by CardinalGuzman.wordpress.com.
The Changing Seasons is a Monthly Photo Challenge started by CardinalGuzman.wordpress.com.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fall

September has been a month of family crisis this year. Everyone I know experiences emergencies, worst-fears-realized, and drama from time to time. They are a part of life painful though they may be. Sometimes we are blessed with sweet joy when victorious over catastrophe; sometimes loss is followed by grief. We have experienced both this month; the loss of Tim and Maria’s baby, and the near death experience of my dear father. One loss we still grieve, the other we celebrate because he beat the odds and survived. Once we realized Dad was going to survive this last crisis, the family celebrated and the tears turned from those of fear and grief to tears of rejoicing. When all was said and done however, I for one felt emotionally depleted. This has been a month of drama, of extreme highs and lows.

Late afternoon yesterday Richard and I needed to get out into nature to refresh our weary souls. When the world crowds in, or when I am weary from whatever the stress, a walk in the woods does absolute wonders. So with camera in hand, we headed out for a late afternoon and early evening soul-healing jaunt. Remembering the photo challenge this week, I thought a return to the nature preserve would be a nice place to start our trek. We were not disappointed.

To begin with, cloud formations created dramatic scenes for most of the day. We often get gorgeous clouds, I think because they are coming off the great lake nearby.

Next, I noticed the fall flowers: beautiful, colorful, a wonderful sight on a glorious fall day.

We also enjoyed the different fowl that inhabit the nature preserve, some of them quite colorful.

But after a bit, the storm clouds began to move in . . .

and the rain began to fall . . .

and the ducks swam for shelter!

Then the heavens opened up and rain poured down. Fortunately we sheltered in the nature center till the deluge subsided. And when there was a lull, we made the mad dash to our car, but I hesitated along the trail to shoot one last frame.

Back in our car, the heavens once again opened up as we headed out of the preserve. Since we were already out, we decided to run a few errands on the way home, all the while thinking that our jaunt was drawing to a close. When we pulled into the market parking lot however, we sighted a reminder that in good times or bad, the Divine Presence is still with us. . . Always.

We did our shopping, but Richard suggested one more stop before going home. Since moving to Cleveland earlier this month, we had not yet been to the lake. Even though clouds filled the sky and the view was rather gloomy, my dear romantic husband thought that tonight would be a good night to get our first peek at this magnificent body of water. No gorgeous sunset greeted us, but what a beautiful sight, an enticement for frequent visits in the future.

On our way home, I had one last conversation for the night with Mom. We both realize how fragile life is, and how our lives can and do change instantly from time to time. But for tonight, our family is thankful beyond words that Dad is with us. In fact, he is already talking about his next camping trip. And after our wonderful trek into the natural world this evening, Richard and I finally relax into a good night’s sleep.