Biking in the Woods…of Memories

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©Cindy Kennedy

The leaves crackle under our bike tires, burying the path underneath the trees.   There is a sense of golden aura, with splatters of rust and green throughout, as we wind along the trail flanking the river. The geese chatter, the slight scent of decay emanates throughout.

As we ride past the mirrored lake, the swing set adjacent, I am transported immediately to my past. I remember coming to these same Captain Daniel Wright Woods often as a child. We would spend the day with our neighbors, the boys and dads fishing, the girls running, laughing, chasing dragon flies, moms relaxing with a smile.

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Afterwards all we kids played together with new friends, made up games on the jungle gym. The picnic was unpacked onto long wooden tables, my mom offering up delicious pans of fried chicken still warm in foil, bowls of cut fruit, homemade chocolate cookies, the rare treat of a can of soda.

When I was in high school, my dad taught me to cross country ski on these snow filled paths. The woods turned magic, covered with sparkling snow, as we careened through the forest.

As we continued on our current bike ride , those memories morphed into later visits, when we brought my kids, their cousins, and our dogs to enjoy that same playground. We clomped over the bridge to a hidden pond for the kids to catch frogs, skip stones, and throw bread bits as the fish broke the surface again and again.

I hope that someday my kids will come visit here, and they will remember all the times we came to the forest preserve with poignant smiles. And better yet, I hope that they can create their own memories here with their friends or family.

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Weekend Photography Fun

Last Sunday was an incredibly beautiful autumn day in the Chicago suburbs.  With a few absolutely free hours, a bike, and my Pentax K-3, it was time for a workout and then some mind release.  What a way to get lost, while finding myself, biking in Lakewood Forest Preserve.

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Love testing the photography “rules” of shooting into the sun, unusual angles, etc.

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I HATE being lost. But, can you see the teeny path I followed to the silo?

Outdoor Color Schemes

I recently escaped to the incredible sand and wide blue skies of the Dominican Republic for a few days.  The colors made me wonder: as our Chicago winter approaches, skies graying and trees becoming barren, how come the recent colors in the trees were so warm and welcoming

while the island shades were cool and relaxing?

Wind.

Opposites of reality? The orange-red-yellow here warning us of the frigid air coming, the blue-green-beige in Punta Cana keeping us refreshed on the beach? Food for thought. C

The First Frost

So sad, decimating the gardens after two mornings of hard frost.  In early October, no less.  Basil, so fragrant in pesto last week, now rubbery black leaves, the tomato vines collapsed and shriveled with a few lingering green ones oozing seeds, the cucumbers withered in the dirt, peppers wilting. I yanked everything but a couple herbs from the dirt yesterday, leaving blank black boxes yawning for next year’s growth.  This is when I know winter is truly coming.  So sad to have the frost so early this year, since last year we got tomatoes into November.

Then I moved on to the flower beds, clippers flying, as I cut back my summer beauties, petals gone, stems drooping.  The annuals pulled from roots out–marigolds and yellow beauties and zinnias and dahlias.  Many of the perennials now down to the earth–coneflowers, daisies, white asters, bachelor buttons,  several varieties of black-eyed Susans, bee balm.  A few still remain–gorgeous plum asters, grasses changing color like the trees, mums, gilardia, more purple sedum.  The trellises put away, the hoses rolled, bee houses  replaced with pumpkins and gourds to supply a little lingering color.

Alas, there will be more to cut and bag as November approaches, sweating in the late autumn days, as we lament the end of summer, the floral and vegetable garden.  But we will start planning for next’s years garden in the winter months, waiting for the frown ground to thaw.  C

Autumn Glory!

Can we still call it Indian summer in November?  The hovering sun and warmth is predicted to end today, but the summerlike conditions have been and amazing break for a normally grey time in Chicago.  Wearing shorts biking yesterday?  Working the horses outside?  A lovely treat for all. 

imgp4910We jump for joy with with weather…until tonight, when light snow is expected.

Here is more autumn beauty to share:

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C

Sweet Surprise

I spent a warmish, windy Saturday afternoon prepping the garden for winter, continuing the task of cutting back flowers, deadheading, and pulling out many of the now unproductive tomato plants, though a few valiant survivors remain for a few short weeks.  And grape vines.  Have you ever cut back the reddening, hardened vines from a trellis?   Just know that there is no need for lifting weights after such an endeavor; it is extremely hard work.

As I was yanking out a couple tomoatoes, I found a sweet surprise nestled in the midst of the tomato plants–a few fresh sprigs of basil, which I thought long gone for this year.  Yum!  Just rubbing my fingers gently on the leaves and bringing them to my nose conjures up a smell of one final batch of bruschetta for tonight.  A garden farewell, of sorts, as the nights turn crisper, the sun drops quicker, and the early morning sometimes brings a layer of frost upon all it touches.C