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Autumn is here and winter is fast approaching here in SE Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County. A great number of the trees here are now completely devoid of leaves as are a huge percentage of the neighborhood yards. The latter is lamentable for a variety of reasons–noisy leaf blowers, disturbed ecosystems that support a variety of life including next years potential butterflies, and a loss of potential soil nutrients through curb side pick up of piles or bags of as yet unformed humus. The former is of course all part of the natural pattern of the seasons here in North America for deciduous trees. Temperatures are fluctuating rather drunkenly as fall speeds towards winter. Recent day time highs have been as warm as 65 degrees and lows in the early morning hours have dipped into the middle to lower 30s. Perfect weather for observing and interacting with nature! Just remember to dress warm enough. I took these photos on Monday November 16th and was woefully under-dressed, with only a light jacket over my sweater, blue jeans and sneakers with cotton socks. What I needed was some long johns, thicker socks, and boots. It was worth the cold feet and hands to me though to get the following shots.
To better understand our local life places it’s imperative to go outside and witness the different cycles of life in all seasons. One way to do this is to have a daily sit spot, where one goes consistently to simply sit in silent observation for 20 or minutes at a time, preferably morning and evening. Another way is to take daily walks where one lives and to hike in areas nearby to see, hear, and feel the life all around us. I enjoy taking my camera when I hike because it slows me down as a I walk through the woods. A small sketch book is also a wonderful tool for any budding naturalist. I personally need to add drawing to my nature time much more often. That would certainly slow me down, something I imagine most of us need to do.