Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Have Feet Will Travel

This is a beautiful fall. I am reveling in the brilliant colors of the leaves, and even the muted colors of the rain-filled sky and frost-bleached grasses. And the smells of this season, so rich with memories of the vibrant summer that are transmuted to earthy leaf mulch and wind-driven rain! My greatest joy is not just that the season has arrived; rather, it is that for some reason I am more aware this year of autumn's beauty, more linked to the natural rhythms of the season.

Perhaps it is because I have bought a tiny trailer and am outside more this season, hiking and cooking, sitting by the campfire. My wife and I made the choice to change our environment, to buy the trailer so that we could have a "mobile office" where we could work yet be more outside. Now it is fall, and I am outside more, having packed my outdoor clothes--and glad to have done so! Even the cold knife of the wind is--what is the word?--bracing! The world is alive, and to move out into the natural world is to be reminded of those cosmic rhythms of life. It is easy to forget or ignore these natural rhythms when in a highly controlled environment.

While my wife works her business, I write, and lots of my writing has been about our travel--the earth and sky and waters. I have to report that I think I'm getting better at it, but travel writing isn't as easy as it appears to be at first glance. As a fiction writer, I can say that traveloging is first and last driven by setting, by description of the natural world and the human world one experiences.

I recently posted a travel blog entitled "Fall Leaves and Camping, Please," where my wife and I spent five nights camping. "It's late October, just past the harvest moon, fifty-five degrees, and the trees are in full reds and yellows, the sky blues and grays, and the fire is a quiet companion as I sit and write at my camp at Jefferson County Park, a campground just four miles from my house."

In about a week I will be posting another piece at Green Goddess Glamping, entitled "Two Fall Nights on the Des Moines River," where I write about sharing my camp with rain showers and chainsaw instructors. The campground was carpeted with fall leaves. The river flowed just beyond the door to my tiny trailer. I took long walks along a nature trail and gravel roads. "I walked a mile down Hawk Drive along the Des Moines River, beautiful country with trees with brilliant foliage and stark white trunks mixed with evergreens, framed top and bottom by the cloudy sky and flowing river." I met fifteen young adults, all brandishing chainsaws.

It was a journey worth taking, both for the outer and inner joys of the experience. Just as a cold fall rain is cleansing, so too can the experience of being in a cold fall rain be cleansing. And can there be anything more evocative than young adults happily felling invasive trees so that native species can re-establish themselves. Ah, the smell of sawdust in the early morning air!

I'm leaving tomorrow for Indian Lake for some cold weather camping. I want to learn how to be comfortable when the temperatures are in the 30's to the teens range. I believe it will involve warm clothing and a warm camper. I want to get outside, to enjoy the straightforward intelligence of nature, to live simply, and as I write this, I think I need to find my copy of Thoreau's Walden for reading. Simplify, simplify, simplify!

And I'll keep writing, because while beauty is in the eye of the beholder, that is only a partial truth. Beauty is everywhere, but only inside the beholder if our eyes behold it. I'm going to experience the bracing cold of the fall wind. There's a chance of snow flurries. That should wake me up and keep me moving.

(Note: a great way to not miss my updates on writing or my traveloging is to sign up for email notifications for either (or both) blogs. Check the blog sidebars for the sign-up gadget.)


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