Monday, September 26, 2011

The view along I-80: trees in transition.

For me, one of the first signs of fall is the display of spiced wafers at the grocery store. That stack of orange and black boxes means summer is over, and Halloween is just around the corner.
A more ancient sign of the season is the turning of the leaves, and there's no better way to see that than to take a drive across Pennsylvania, known as "Penn's Woods" for good reason.
My husband and I took a road trip to visit family last week (a more than momentary joy). Our route home brought us back into Pennsylvania from the west along I-80, a highway that rolls through the heart of the forests.
We had left home last Monday, still in summer season. As we headed north and west, Penn's Woods were mostly green, with only the occasional shimmer of orange. 
We arrived back home on Friday, the first official day of fall. What a difference a week made. Green still ruled, but those shimmers of orange had been joined by red, yellow and gold, signs of the fireworks to come.
Don't miss the show.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Proof that search engines have a sense of humor:
Today I was browsing through the library catalog for travel books. In the search field I typed "Ontario travel."
The catalog offered me many choices, but it also asked, "Did you mean 'interstellar travel'?"
Uh, not today, thanks. But maybe some star date in the future.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I find comfort in the eternal nature of nature.

Ten years ago today, I walked into the late summer night, 
looking for peace.
I listened to the world around me
and heard crickets singing their end-of-summer song.
I passed a family of four, which was soon to be a family of five:
father, mother, great with child, daughter, toddler son.
I thought of how normal they looked, 
and I thought of how so many families
would not feel "normal" for days, weeks, months, years to come,
if ever.
When I heard the crickets, I thought, tonight the crickets are singing in Central Park.
The natural world lives on.
  Night falls, the stars appear. 
Humans mourn but all around the earth tells us: 
Life goes on.
A time to weep; a time to mourn.
A time to remember, with love.
When I graduated from Penn State in 1979, one of my oldest and dearest friends gave me a copy of "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran.
Among his many beautiful words are these:

"The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain."

I have seen those words prove true in my own life. I pray the same for all who mourn and remember today.

Monday, September 5, 2011

There are times I just love typos.
Not that I enjoy misspelling words, but I do love how an inadvertent keystroke can take you in a whole different direction. Freudian slips of the fingers.
In an email yesterday, I wrote that I'm looking forward to a visit from my brother-in-law and his wife, and that I hoped we would "head to the shore."
Instead of "shore," I originally typed "shire," and instantly the land of hobbits flashed in my mind.
I smiled, and thought of how much I've enjoyed spending imaginary time in the Shire and the rest of Middle-earth, home of "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings."
Then I thought of my parents, bless their hearts, who gave me the whole set of books one Christmas. I still have them. They're the same copies my husband and I read aloud to introduce our own kids to J.R.R. Tolkien's world. 
Fond memories. All courtesy of a typo.
My copy of "The Hobbit," 
complete with beautiful runes, 
was published in 1966.