Fall happens to be my favorite time of year. The fall season is a spectacular display of the fruits of Mother Nature. The insects are showcasing their tantalizing babel. The fields and roadside ditches are glowing with the the wildflower finale of goldenrod, ironweed, asters and sunflower. Magnificent flights of winged friends gather and pass gregariously overhead on their way to winter hideaways. There are a million different reasons why I love fall- let me list a few more...
1. The colors. The trees may not be changing quite yet but those colors are coming. It's the thing I missed most living out west. The golds, the reds, the oranges and all the shades in between but especially, especially, the autumnal sunshine that bounces spectacularly off the venerable leaves.
2. Cool mornings and crisp nights. The air is magical this time of year. The smell of fall- the brisk nip inspires action during the light and encourages cozy blankets by a fire at night.
3. Country roads and blue skies. The place I like to be most during fall are the back roads that only Ohio can offer. The sky is somehow a brighter hue of blue and the roads go on and on during the endless mid-afternoon sunshine.
I found myself pleasantly sandwiched between open roads and blue skies last Saturday. The day was impossibly crisp as we headed to Der Dutchman for lunch in Plain City, Ohio. The cookies alone make the trip worthwhile! Try the raspberry shortbread. Really.
We were then off to Ohio's largest cave system, Ohio Caverns
in West Liberty, Ohio. Discovered by a young boy investigating the disappearance of water in 1897, these caves are the most extensive and arguably the most beautiful in Ohio. I couldn't get over the size of some of the stalactites and stalagmites. The Crystal King stalactite that hangs from the cave ceiling is pure white, weighs about 400 pounds and is over 200,000 thousand years! Formed by flowing water, one drop at a time. In fact, the whole cave system was formed by flowing water. An underground river cut through the limestone over the centuries, leaving softball sized pieces of chert jutting haphazardly from the the worn surfaces. Amazing! The stunning colors come from the presence of mineral deposits that have painted the walls and formations white, purple, red and yellow. The purple was a deep stained plum-cranberry that reminded me of Malabar spinach seeds I used to plant.
After the caves, we wandered by a couple of Ohio prairies, notably Bigelow Pioneer Cemetary State Nature Preserve
. This tiny 1/2 acre plot still boasts the tombstones of early settlers to this area. The sun had reached its afternoon slant by this time, when the rays are long and blinding if you gaze west, illuminating the narrowly mowed path. I gently made my way between black and yellow garden spiders, springing grasshoppers and arrow-leaved aster, catching the shade behind a grave. To be in a place such as this cemetery prairie on a splendid fall day was humbling.
How lucky are we?
Upcoming Classes & Events
Yoga- Mondays, 6-7 a.m. & Wednesdays, 7-8 p.m., starting September 23. About Face Fit, 12306 SR 13, Milan, Ohio 44846. Bring your own mat or blanket. $8/class
Meditation- Tuesdays, 7-8:15 p.m., Converging Paths Meditation Center
Full Moon Night Hike- Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013, 7:30 p.m. The Enchanted Cottage, East Sandusky Bay MetroPark. Join the Naturalist for a beautiful night hike on each month's full moon! Please leave flashlights at home; the moon will light our way. Family, friends, and friendly canine companions are always welcome! Hikes will last about an hour, registration appreciated.
Park PALS- Looking at Leaves- Saturday, Sep 28, 10am & Monday, Sep 30, 2pm. The Enchanted Cottage, East Sandusky Bay MetroPark. There are almost 1000 species of trees in North America! We will compare leaves from various trees at Stockdale Arboretum to see if we can identify them! Registration Required.