A Walk in the Woodlands: My Photographic Journal
If one were to ask me what my favorite holiday is, I would say Thanksgiving.
Even though Christmas decorations and traditional carols are among my favorite things, there is nothing quite like a gathering of family and friends to share a generous meal. It is a time of reflection and thankfulness.
I love to cook and entertain, so I look forward to a feast with my family and best friends: green salad, butternut squash soup, roasted turkey, garlic mashed potatoes, creamed onions, sweet yams, corn pudding, green beans, traditional celery and onion stuffing, and pumpkin pie - all served with several kinds of wine. Everyone contributes by bringing a personal favorite. It is a special time for sharing traditions and recipes.
After all of the preparation and clean-up, however; I look forward to time outdoors where I can relax and refocus. This is when I grab my camera and head for the oak woodlands in our nearby botanical gardens where I can leisurely stroll and lose myself in the peace and beauty there.
My Walk in the Woodlands
Besides the glorious color palette, the forest smells especially woodsy. The air is brisk, and I can hear wildlife busily foraging in the leaf litter. Ah! there is so much to take in!
While I'm looking for white-spotted towhees to photograph, I follow the rustle of leaves and instead find a handsome squirrel adding to his winter stash. He has stopped at my approach, his bushy tail up as he assesses my threat. I wonder how he can remember where he buries all of his edible treasures!
One of my favorite areas in the woodlands borders a koi pond. It has inspired my haiku writing and is now as colorful as an artist's paintbox. The Japanese maples are glorious! Crimson, orange, yellows, and greens contrast with the gray trunks of the tall oaks. A sassanqua camellia is loaded with rosy blooms.
The afternoon reflection of the tree canopy on the water's surface has been rippled by two fish swimming in tandem. This creates an interesting tapestry effect against the muddy green bottom. The golden leaf debris that has collected along the edges of the water compliments the red hues of the reflected maples overhead. The amber boughs of the spice bush and viburnum shrubs are laden with clusters of purple and red berries, so the many birds and animals have a feast of their own. This is nature's random art at its best!
As I make my way along a narrow beaten path through the ivy back to the road, I notice many clusters of tan fungi in the moist shade but have to stop when I spot bright red-orange toadstools underneath some wild strawberries and brambles. I am thankful to have an eye for nature's details and the heart to appreciate it.
The stone wall along the road is covered with tendrils of red and green Boston ivy. I am admiring the fall coloration when I see quick movement and hear the tiny rustle of dried leaves. It takes a bit of focus before I see the small alligator lizard who has taken over an abandoned bird's nest. What a lucky guy!
While walking along the main road out of the gardens, I am able to capture that rare resting moment when a plump sparrow stops to span the area with a quick eye. She bids me good-bye with a shrill "tseek-tseek" as she flies away.
It has been a day of rejuvenation for me and has given me even more reasons to be thankful at this time of the year. I hope you've enjoyed my photographic journal!
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© 2011 Catherine Tally