On an Autumn Hike

It feels good to be back writing in this space after a busy stretch. Four out of the last five weekends (including this one) I’ve been involved in a writing-related conference of some sort, but I’ve caught my breath, sitting at a downtown coffeeshop on a quiet fall morning. There’s hot coffee to my right, a pumpkin muffin to my left, and small-town blue sky over the storefronts.

I’m in Missouri attending a creative-writing pedagogy conference at the University of Central Missouri, and because the conference is smaller, I have had some down time to let my mind relax. The weather’s been gorgeous, compared to back home in Central TX. 60s, no humidity, nice breeze. Before yesterday afternoon’s sessions, I went to Knob Noster State Park and hiked for an hour on two trails. It was the right weather for my favorite wardrobe: jeans and a T-shirt.

As I walked on the trails, leaves and acorns occasionally dropped, and I enjoyed the golds, the light tans, and the occasional reds. Even though I was in woodlands, I was reminded of those wonderful Minnesota autumn days walking home from school, leaves everywhere, that beautiful span of time before the cold began its numbing descent. And I found myself thinking of Robert Frost’s poetry, the poet whose work has been close by me, dating back to high school. Images of trees, of leaves, of autumn, all in that controlled, artful metrical verse.

Lastly, here are the opening lines of Frost’s “October” along with some the photos I took:

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.

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