37: Misty and gray

(Morning mist.)

Come January, a day like today will feel warm and toasty.  But today?  It feels downright cold and blustery.  I’m spoiled by the mild weather and haven’t yet toughened up to the cold.

(Bare bones.)

This was one of those days when going outside, even for a brief period of time, was not appealing.  The morning was gray and misty.  The afternoon has been gray and windy.  I haven’t gone to look but I’ll bet the weather websites are now including the wind chill factor with the current temperature.  Lake-effect snow and sleet were mentioned for the first time this season in last night’s weather forecast.

(Today’s view of the pond from the garden area.)

The first five or ten minutes outside were rough.  Once my fingers, toes, and face were numb, it wasn’t so bad.  Getting out of the wind helped.  I headed straight for the back of the pond where there is a natural windbreak due to the trees of the woods.

Some of the trees near the creek still have their leaves.  It’ll be interesting to see how much longer they hold on, now that I’m paying attention to such things.

(Gold in the meadow.)

When I first went out I didn’t think I’d be taking many photos today.  The wind, the gray sky, and the cold all made it seem pretty drab.  I was wrong.  There is still plenty of color out there if you look for it.

(Pinks in the meadow.)

There is a lot of interesting fungi to be found, too.  I’ll post some of those photos soon.  I want to finish with the cemetery series first.

Speaking of which, here are today’s cemetery photos:

(Rice crypt.)

(In the greenery.)

That’s about it from the Bogs for today.  I’m headed upstairs to make some potato-leek soup.  It’s a hot soup kind of day.  Add a little freshly baked bread and a salad, and we’ll have the makings of a good dinner.

34: Of cemetery visits, a winner, and today’s walk

(Lafayette Cemetery No. 1.  New Orleans, LA)

If you’ve been visiting Life in the Bogs for a while, you know that I occasionally like to hang out in cemeteries.  They are peaceful places filled with history, sculptures, and great landscaping.  I usually take lots of photos when visiting cemeteries.  The photos go into a file, then into a back-up file, and that’s pretty much it except for an initial viewing of one or two when I post about my latest visit to a cemetery.

It occurred to me yesterday that ’tis the season to be dragging out some of my cemetery photos.  One of the my favorite cemetery tours was Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Located in the Garden District, Lafayette No. 1 is one of the oldest cemeteries in the city of New Orleans and has been featured in several movies.

Our visit to Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 took place on a beautiful, bright, sunny day.  That’s hardly the proper mood for Halloween ghoulishness so I took some of the photos to my Photoshop laboratory and worked some mischief on them.  They are best viewed large (click on the image to see the large version).

I’ll bring you a few more throughout the week in celebration of Halloween (which, as you may recall, I mentioned in yesterday’s post as a holiday I don’t really celebrate but figure I’m entitled to change my mind).

And the winner is…

The winner of the first ever Life in the Bogs Give-Away is Marcie whose Daily Practice is beautiful and inspiring (and she’s VERY good at naming/captioning her art).  If you haven’t seen Marcie’s images, head on over and have a look.  Congratulations, Marcie!

I will probably do this again sometime during the course of my outdoor commitment so stayed tuned.

Today’s walk

I went out early today.  Except for the crowing of the neighbor’s rooster, the birds were oddly quiet, especially when you consider how noisy they have been for the past week or so.  They must be hunkering down in preparation for the coming storm.  We’re under a high wind advisory (with sustained winds of 25-35 mph) today and tomorrow.  A line of fierce looking thunderstorms is headed this way.

(Today’s view of the pond.)

The woods are heavily carpeted with leaves now.  I have to tread with care as I can’t see what is under the leaves and can easily be tripped.

(By the creek this morning.)

I don’t think there will be many leaves left on the trees once this next front blows through.  As it is, many of the trees are already bare.  The landscape is taking on the brown hues of mid- to late autumn.

But there are still a few late bloomers still hanging on, and some green left to be found in the meadows.

I can feel that storm coming.  I don’t know if that’s one of the blessings or curses of having arthritis.  Either way, it’s a pretty painful day.  I wonder if that means it will be a bad storm?

Let’s hope not.

A walk in the woods, a ceremony, and a kitten

Today is day 17 of the great outdoors challenge.  As on day 16, M and I went to a nearby park for exercise and fresh air.  It’s a nice park with a sledding hill (or  a climbing-up-and-down-the-stairs hill if there is no snow and you want to get your heart rate up), a large playground for the kiddies, a small pond with fountains, a paved track going around the park, and a mulched nature trail that goes through the woods.

The weather here in New Jersey has been wonderful.  Sunny, warm, and feeling more like summer than autumn.  I keep forgetting it’s October.

At the park, we walked through the woods:

Met a few big, beautiful trees:

And saw a couple of rainbows on a sunny day:

(Fountain rainbow.)

We also spent some time at the exercise station doing push-ups, sit-ups, and whatever else the signs instructed us to do in order to stretch, strengthen, and increase our heart rates.  It was fun.  It’s been a while since I’ve seen one of those outdoor exercise stations (the copyright on this one was 1994), much less worked out at one.  I’m trying to talk M into setting one up for us.  He said I’m welcome to build it myself and he’ll be happy to support me with advice.  I may take him up on that.

Being outdoors in this part of New Jersey is a little different from being outdoors in the Bogs.  Traffic noises are always present and it seems like wherever you are is in the flight path of planes large and small as well as helicopters.  Being more densely populated, there are plenty of people everywhere.  It’s also a part of me as this area is where I spent my childhood.  There is more of almost everything now:  more people, more cars, more highways, more shopping centers, more restaurants and bars, more jughandles, more houses.  But there is also less:  Fewer farms, fewer orchards, fewer circles/roundabouts (because they have been replaced with jughandles and intersections with lights and overpasses), fewer quiet places where the traffic of everyday life doesn’t intrude.

The ceremony at hospice yesterday was nicely done and the hospice folks were caring and supportive (as one might expect — or hope to find — at a hospice).  The plaque honoring Mom is lovely.  There were two other families there (as there are three names on a plaque).  The ceremony included a few speeches, a couple of readings, some songs, and a lot of tears.

You’ll have to pardon me for quickly glossing over it.  It was, as expected, a highly emotional affair.  In some ways it brought Mom’s death back to us almost as if it just happened.  If there are other ways about it, I’m not sure what they are yet.  I know one of the ideas behind it is to bring a sense of peace.  Perhaps that will come with time.

I’m not sure what we’ll be doing today.  It depends on what my father is up for.  We’ve talked about going to Philly for the morning, but I don’t think Dad will be able to do that.  We’re leaving in a few minutes to visit Mom’s grave.  The last time I went there was a temporary marker.  The permanent marker has been put in place now.

Football (watching it on TV) is on tap for the afternoon.  I’ll probably end up spending some of that football time playing with Shadow, Dad’s cat and my new friend.

Meet Shadow:

Isn’t he adorable?  If I didn’t already have two cats who would be highly unappreciative of a third, I might kidnap (catnap?) him and take him home with me.