PHOTOS: Autumn leaves on Griffy Lake trail, October 28, 2017

Puppy Shadow and I decided that today would be a good day to drive north a few miles and park at the Griffy Lake trailhead. Of course, he was thrilled! And so was I, because it is finally cold enough for him to wear his little orange jacket, so that when he chases squirrels off trail, I can still keep track of him.

Otherwise, his mottled grey color looks remarkably like tree bark — and in this season, moldy leaves!

The orange color means my — “Shadow?!” “Shadow?!” — pleas for communication will not be nearly so frantic. (He likes that, too.) I know he does plan to come back — only two weeks after I became his new owner we walked the Griffy trail for the first time — and he disappeared!  And, despite my running back and forth for 20 minutes calling him — he did not return. Dejected and nearly hysterical, I retraced my steps. And, of course, there he was, one mile later, waiting for me by the car! I console myself with that thought now, whenever he does disappear for a spell.

This time I only lost sight of him once, and then, after five endless minutes, I heard him not too far away, shaking his tinkling collar — to let me know? In any case, he’s now starting to take shortcuts; thinks he’s a genius, coming out of the woods ahead of me at bends in the trail.

So. Here we go!

On the way back, I found myself singing out loud, “The autumn leaves, drift past my window . . . the autumn leaves, of red and gold . . . On and on, that beautiful nostalgic song that I used to sing as a kid in 1960, freshman year in college, when I missed my boyfriend. Even though I haven’t sung it since, I discovered that I still remember every single word of its lyrics! That was the year I started near daily walks in nature. I was 17 years old. Nearly 58 years later, the habit remains.

BTW: I bet if you took a poll as to which season is a person’s favorite, it would usually be bittersweet autumn, when memories of that year’s fleeting flourishing — its events, dramas, scenes are recollected — in tranquility? Probably not. Not these days, when the world has turned so fierce and topsy-turvy; more and more we depend on nature to nudge us back into communion with her mysterious, ever-flowing, co-dependent complexity.

Once home, I decided to finally get out my new yak slippers from last summer’s trip to Siberia. YES! Under two pair of socks, they fit perfectly.

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